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3  3433  08241911  4 





Presented  to  the  Publishers  of  ihis  Kook  with  auto- 
graph signature.  Mr.  Blaine  remarked  at  the 
time,  "  I  lelt  my  house,  stood  lor  the  picture,  and 
was  back  in  eitrht  minutes." 

Memorial  SEotttotu 

Life  and  Work 


Jam^s  G.  ^laine 













General  SELDEN  CONNOR,  Ex-Governor  of  Maine, 

and  other  eminent  friends  of  Mr.  Blaine. 

J&  Slntional  <6nUcrg  of  ^pictures  auo  portraits. 


294  Broad-way,   New  York. 

- 1  mi- 

CoPYRiSftTr-  by  H.  S.  SMITH. 

(all  rights  reserved.) 

#**  Many  of  the  illustrations  in  this  work  are  from  original  drawings  by  our  own  artists 
and  fully  protected  by  copyright,  their  reproduction  is  unlawful,  and  notice  is  hereby  given  that 
persons  guilty  of  infringing  the  copyright  thereof  will  be  prosecuted  to  the  full  extent  of  the  law. 

^  E  do  not  conceal  from  ourselves  or  the  public 
the  hesitation  which  we  feel  in  attempting  to 
portray  the  life  and  work  of  James  G.  Blaine. 
It  is  a  life  so  unique,  a  work  so  great,  that  the 
writers  may  well  pause  before  beginning  the 
delineation  of  the  one  and  the  estimation  of 
the  other. 

Public  interest,  however,  is  so  deeply  rooted 
in  the  character  of  Blaine  that  much  will  be  over- 
looked and  much  more  forgiven  in  the  case  of 
an  honest  attempt  to  transcribe  that  character  to  the 
printed  page.  The  people  of  the  United  States  will,  at 
the  present  juncture,  read  with  sympathy  the  essays  and 
deductions  of  many  authors.  A  great  volume  of  matter, 
much  of  it  transient  and  a  certain  part  permanent  in  value, 
will  be  given  forth  in  the  current  year.  It  were  not  beyond  the  range  of 
probability  that  the  personal  life  and  public  career  of  Blaine  will  be  more 
discussed  and  written  about  than  that  of  any  other  American  of  the  present 
age,  with  the  possible  exception  of  General  Grant. 

These  facts  may  excuse  such  faults  and  imperfections  in  the  following 
work  as  are  incident  to  the  nature  of  the  subject  and  to  the  occasion.  The 
occasion  certainly  exists.  The  shadow  of  a  great  eclipse  has  passed  over 
the  American  landscape,  The  shadow  has  been  as  broad  as  the  borders  of 
our  country,  and  the  penumbra  of  it  has  extended  northward  to  the  frozen 
seas  and  southward  to  the  pampas. 

American  history  of  the  current  age  has  been  rich  in  great  men  ;  but  it 
has  not  been   so  rich   as  to  spare  any.    Of  these  death  has  been  claiming 

from  time  to  time  a  rich  harvest.    The  shaft  has  struck  here  and  there,  in 



places  far  and  near.  Our  distinguished  generals  are  all  gone  or  going.  They 
who  were  developed  to  so  high  a  degree  of  character  and  action  in  the 
epoch  of  our  national  trial  have  passed  off  one  by  one — 

"  To  join 
The  innumerable  caravan  which  moves 
To  that  mysterious  realm  where  each  shall  take 
His  chamber  in  the  silent  halls  of  death." 

Grant  and  Lee,  Sherman  and  Johnston  have  Iain  down  together.  McClellan 
and  Sheridan,  Hancock  and  Logan  have  gone  away  to  the  far  country  whose 
landscape  no  earthly  witness  has  described. 

In  like  manner  the  great  civilians  of  the  age  have  passed  from  the  arena 
of  the  world.  Where,  alas!  are  those  stately  figures  that  filled  the  walks  of 
public  life  during  the  last  quarter  of  a  century?  Silent  alll  Two  great 
Presidents  dead  by  violence  I  Two  other  Presidents  gone  away — the  greatest 
sleeping  at  Riverside.  Vice-Presidents  and  aspirants  fallen !  Senators,  diplo- 
matists, ministers,  publicists — a  legion  departed  into  silence  1  Ere  long  all  the 
great  relics  of  the  heroic  days  will  be  seen  no  more  in  the  gloom  and  shine 
of  this  planet.  So  also  the  intellectually  great  are  going.  Our  authors,  poets, 
men  of  letters,  have  disappeared  until  the  thinned  ranks  are  reduced  to  a 
spectral  array,  among  whom  contentions  and  rivalries  are  almost  vain  from 
paucity  of  numbers. 

It  would  appear  that  the  world  cannot  well  spare  its  great  men.  They 
are  not  so  plentiful  in  any  age  or  under  any  condition  as  to  be  wastefully 
put  out  of  sight.  The  world  loses  by  their  going.  It  is  not  certain  that  our 
planet  has  any  intrinsic  value ;  but  its  extrinsic  or  related  value  as  the  abode 
of  human  activity  is  great.  It  is  men  and  the  deeds  of  men  that  confer 
upon  this  scene  its  interest  and  importance. 

Nevertheless,  our  estimate  of  harm  from  the  loss  of  the  great  is  doubtless 
overdrawn.  If,  indeed,  men — individuals — were,  as  the  poorest  school  of 
thinking  would  have  us  believe,  the  creators  of  history,  then  the  world — the 
progress  of  events — might  seem  to  be  put  out  of  place  by  the  departure  of 
great  actors  from  the  arena.  But  the  world  is  fortunately  not  so  disturbed  by 
the  loss  of  any,  however  great.  History  is  able  to  care  for  herself.  She  pro- 
duces according  to  her  exigencies.  If  the  exigencies  be  great,  then  history  is  a 
great  mother.  If  the  exigency  be  small,  then  the  mother  is  correspondingly 
parsimonious  in  her  offspring.  Sometimes,  for  a  while,  she  brings  forth  nothing 
at  all — not,  perhaps,  because  she  cannot,  but  because  she  thinks  the  occasion 
does  not  demand  the  exercise  of  the  full  powers  of  her  sublime  maternity  I 


James  G.  Blaine  has  now  been  transferred  from  this  to  another  scene. 
He  has  gone  to  Garfield  1  What  that  other  estate  is,  we  shall  not  presump- 
tuously venture  to  declare.  Certainly  they  are  with  the  immortals,  where- 
soever it  be.  May  be  it  is  in  Lyra ;  may  be  in  Altair !  May  be  the  glories 
of  the  sun  have  taken  them  both  back  to  the  embrace  of  fire.  Let  us  at  any 
rate  hope  that  they  live,  and  think,  and  enjoy,  and  know  1 

The  day  was  when  these  two  walked  down  side  by  side,  on  the  early 
July  morning,  and  entered  the  Chesapeake  Station  together.  Eighteen  years 
before  they  had  entered  Congress  together.  Both  had  risen  to  rank  and  fame. 
One  had  the  greater  success ;  the  other  had  the  greater  genius.  It  would 
seem  that  they  were  friends.  Crash  goes  the  assassin's  bullet  I  One  is 
down,  and  the  other  goes  on  through  contention  and  battle  for  a  season. 
He,  too,  has  now  made  his  exit  through  that  narrow  door  which  has  opened 
and  closed  for  every  son  of  man.  What  a  strange  scene  is  this  1  Can  any 
fathom  life  ?  What  is  this  action  for  ?  What  are  all  these  senses,  this 
intellect,  this  perception,  this  will,  this  consciousness  and  soul — what  is  life 
intended  to  subserve  and  accomplish  ? 

It  is  still  the  day  of  deep  sympathy  for  the  exit  of  James  G.  Blaine 
from  the  mortal  scene.  We  do  not  doubt  that  the  faculties  of  all  Americans 
are  for  the  present  moved  by  the  event,  and  that  the  logical  estimate  of  the 
dead  is  disturbed  a  little  by  affection  and  the  sense  of  loss.  That  Blaine 
has  occupied  a  conspicuous  place  in  the  thought  and  in  the  heart  of  his 
countrymen  for  many  years  cannot  be  denied  or  doubted.  He  was  the  friend 
of  many  men,  and  many  were  friends  of  him.  In  his  life  he  said  brilliant 
things  and  enacted  a  striking  part  in  the  drama  of  the  age. 

This  is  said  of  his  part  in  the  public  life  of  the  American  nation.  We 
all  know  that  an  exaggerated  estimate  is  placed  upon  our  public  life  and 
upon  the  actors  in  it.  The  public  life  of  the  people  is  not  its  real  life  ;  but 
only  its  spectacular  existence.  The  real  life  is  the  life  of  the  masses.  It  is 
measured  by  their  every-day  thoughts  and  feelings  and  hopes.  As  these  rise 
and  fall  civilization  ascends  or  descends  to  corresponding  altitudes  and 
depressions.  Certainly  we  do  not  deny  that  the  public  life  has  its  greatness 
and  value.  We  simply  insist  that  this  public  life  is  not  the  true  one — that 
it  is  only  exponential  of  a  greater  life  resident  in  the  breast  of  the  people. 

In  the  arena  of  governmental  affairs — necessarily  a  great  arena  in  a 
democratic  and  republican  country — leaders  have  a  remarkable  ascendancy 
over  the  minds  of  the  people.  It  is  well  that  it  should  be  so.  The  people, 
looking  to  their  leaders,  remember  that  they  are  leaders  because  they  are 
chosen  to  be  such.    Therefore,  the  people  glory  in  themselves  because  of  the 


leadership  which  they  themselves  have  created.  There  are,  however,  leaders 
and  leaders.  James  G.  Blaine  was  one  of  the  leaders.  He  led,  not  only  by 
sufferance,  not  only  because  he  was  chosen  with  the  full  consent  of  a  free 
people  to  lead,  but  because  he  had  in  him  the  inherent  capacity  to  be  a 
leader  and  the  genius  to  vindicate  his  claim  by  many  conspicuous  and  useful 
policies  and  works. 

As  to  method  it  is  often  a  matter  of  doubt  with  a  writer  what  is  best 
to  be  chosen.  The  method  varies  with  the  subject.  In  the  case  of  public 
men  a  biography  is  necessarily  deduced  most  largely  from  public  affairs.  It 
is  drawn  from  those  records  which  the  given  character  has  written  or  helped 
to  record  in  the  annals  of  his  age.  In  the  case  of  literary  men  the  narrative  is 
deduced  mostly  from  their  writings  and  to  a  considerable  extent  from  the 
personal  habits  and  lives  of  the  authors. 

There  is  a  strong  disposition  in  our  day  to  separate  the  public  man  into 
two  parts,  and  to  pass  over  the  personal  half  with  little  notice  or  concern. 
It  has  been  openly  avowed  in  recent  American  biography  as  a  canon  of  the 
art  that  the  personal  life  of  the  public  man  has  nothing  to  do  with  the  case. 
Public  interest,  however,  includes  both  the  individual  and  the  civil  life  of  the 
actor.  This  is  true,  if  we  mistake  not,  as  a  principle  to  be  observed  in  the 
biography  of  Blaine.  He  had  a  large  personality^  as  well  as  a  large  public  career. 
We  shall  attempt  to  delineate  both  in  the  following  pages,  though  the 
subject  will  lead  us  to  dwell  more  particularly  on  the  civic  and  public  parts 
than  on  the  personal. 

In  a  country  like  the  United  States,  where  families  are  not  established, 
where  the  genealogical  tree  is  less  esteemed  than  any  tree  of  the  forest,  it 
must  needs  be  that  a  personal  and  family  history  will  be  brief — this  for  the 
reason  that  no  record  is  made  of  the  career  of  American  boys  and  youths. 
It  cannot  be  known  in  advance  that  a  given  boy,  in  a  republican  democracy 
like  our  own,  will  rise  to  distinction.  The  rule  is,  indeed,  that  our  great  men 
proceed  from  obscurity.  The  obscurity  is  sometimes  so  dense  that  it  is  almost 
impossible  to  discover  anything  about  the  early  life,  associations  and  dispo- 
sitions of  the  character  in  question.  Life  in  the  United  States  does  not  go 
by  families,  but  by  achievement.  We  have  seen  in  late  years  how  difficult 
it  is  to  construct  a  biography  of  Lincoln  or  of  Garfield.  The  beginnings  of 
their  lives  and  the  whole  period  of  youth  were  so  obscure  that  the  bio- 
grapher is  scarcely  able  to  find  a  point  of  light  or  interest. 

In  America  men  emerge.  They  come  not  of  old  family  stocks — not  out 
of  baronial  manors  and  feudal  castles — but  out  of  the  undiscovered  fountains 
of  the  humble  homes  of  the  people.    The  American  youth  is  properly  the  son 

PREFACE.  vii 

of  the  people.  The  fact  is  emphasized  by  cross-marriage,  which  is  the  rule 
in  American  society,  No  doubt  the  principle  of  marriage  by  the  preference 
and  desire  of  the  parties  has  its  drawbacks  and  disadvantages ;  but  it  is,  at 
any  rate,  based  on  affection  and  choice,  and  these  must,  in  the  long  run, 
work  out  better  results  than  any  marriage  method  contrived  by  the  interest 
and  selfishness  of  parents. 

The  American  youth,  having  in  his  veins  the  cross-currents  of  many 
stocks,  becomes  composite  in  the  highest  degree  ;  but,  at  the  same  time,  he 
becomes  strong.  The  old  method  of  preparing  the  metal  for  axles  and 
pistons  was  to  gather  from  indescribable  sources  the  scrap-iron  debris  of 
everything,  and  to  throw  the  same  together  upon  a  sheet  of  the  same  metal, 
which  was  folded  up  around  the  miscellaneous  mass.  The  ball  thus  prepared 
was  cast  into  the  furnace,  and  thence  taken  at  white  heat  to  be  kneaded  and 
pounded  and  rolled  into  the  required  form.  Thus  was  greatest  strength 
secured,  and  thus,  by  mixture  of  fiber,  a  density  and  endurance  of  the  whole 
obtained,  which  could  not  be  reached  in  any  other  way.  In  the  alchemy  of 
human  life  there  is  something  like  it ;  that  is,  in  the  alchemy  of  American  life, 
where  every  son  born  of  our  democratic  family  is  a  sort  of  son  of  man. 

These  reflections  have  a  measure  of  application  to  Blaine.  True,  his 
family  descent  was  highly  reputable.  But  his  ancestors  were  not  so  con- 
spicuous or  so  much  concerned  about  the  prospects  of  their  descendants  as 
to  record  the  events — if  such  they  may  be  called— of  the  juvenile  career  of 
our  subject.  In  fact,  James  G.  Blaine  began  life  as  other  boys  to  make  his 
way  in  the  world,  and  it  was  some  time  before  he  was  able  to  demonstrate 
the  difference  between  his  own  powers  and  promise  and  the  like  facts  in  his 
fellows.  After  the  beginning  of  his  public  career  the  light  is  turned  upon 
him,  and  in  course  of  time  there  is  a  full  blaze. 

In  his  latter  years  Blaine  has  been  watched  and  recorded  at  every  step. 
Hardly  any  other  character  in  the  whole  history  of  the  American  people  has 
been  written  about  and  made  of  record  so  fully  as  has  been  the  subject  of 
the  biography  which  we  here  attempt  to  present. 

In  the  preparation  of  this  volume  we  shall  first  aim  to  give  an  account  of 
the  ancestry  and  early  life  of  Blaine,  passing  thence  to  the  collegiate  and 
trial  epoch  of  his  youth,  and  thence  to  his  first  appearance  in  public. 
From  his  editorial  career  we  shall  follow  him  into  Congress,  and  note  with 
admiration  his  rise  and  distinction.  Already  at  the  age  of  thirty-five  he 
was  a  noted  man. 

A  number  of  such  cases  are  seen  in  the  epoch  under  consideration. 
In    1 86 j  the   young   men    of    the  great   free   States   had   become   suddenly 



conspicuous.  They  had  espoused  the  Republican  cause ;  voted  for  Fremont ; 
gone  in  on  the  wave  that  carried  Lincoln  to  the  presidency,  and  soon  began 
to  reap  the  fruits  of  leadership.  Oliver  P.  Morton  was  War  Governor  of 
Indiana  at  the  age  of  thirty-seven.  Blaine  was  a  leader  at  a  still  more 
precocious  period  of  his  life. 

From  the  notice  of  his  career  at  this  epoch  we  shall  go  forward  to  the 
still  wider  career  upon  which  he  entered  in  the  after  years  of  his  service  in 
the  House  and  in  the  Senate.  Then  we  shall  see  him  as  Secretary  of  State 
and  aspirant  for  the  presidency.  It  will  be  our  purpose  to  adorn  this  volume 
with  copious  extracts  from  Blaine's  great  speeches  ;  also  to  add  from  his  other 
literary  works  to  the  extent  of  illustrating  his  capacities  as  a  man  of  letters. 
Finally,  we  shall  attempt  to  give  an  adequate  estimate  of  the  genius  and  career 
of  Blaine  viewed  as  facts  in  American  history. 

We  solicit  for  the  work  here  presented  to  the  public  a  fair  measure  of 
attention  and  appreciation.  It  has  been  our  desire  to  make  it  in  some  degree 
worthy  of  the  subject  and  of  the  occasion  which  now  calls  forth  the  publi- 
cation. In  common  with  our  countrymen  we  share  the  admiration  which  they 
have  entertained  for  James  G.  Blaine,  and  shall  have  a  keen  regret  for  any  failure 
to  portray  his  life  and  work  in  such  manner  as  to  merit  the  approbation  of 
that  great  and  not  undiscerning  public  to  whom  we  surrender  this  work  with 

mingled  pleasure  and  regret. 

J,  C.  R. 

New  York,  1893.  S.  C. 


Preface, iii-viii 

Introduction— Typical  men — Sentiment  of  Lavater — Paucity  of  great  names— Charle- 
magne's place  in  Middle-Age  history— Other  mediaeval  heroes— Washington  as  a 
type — Webster  and  Clay — Hamilton  and  Marshall — Lincoln's  place  in  history — A 
Virginian's  opinion  of  the  emancipator — Henry  Clay — Military  and  civic  fame — 
Virtue  of  American  patriotism — Blaine's  appearance  as  a  statesman — His  character 
and  work — Singleness  of  his  career — Sympathy  and  admiration  of  his  countrymen — 
Illusions  of  the  present  hour — Interest  in  Blaine's  life  and  work xxv-xxxii 

Concerning  Birthplaces— The  point  of  origin  a  matter  of  indifference— The  man  makes 
his  own  birthplace — Descent  determines  character— Birthplace  of  Blaine— Sketch  of 
the  epoch  of  his  appearance— Setting  of  events  for  that  day— The  Blaine  family- 
Colonel  Ephraim  Blaine— His  descendants— Ephraim  L.  Blaine  in  particular— The 
home  in  Cumberland  Valley— Maria  Gillespie— The  religious  question  in  the  family- 
Removal  of  Ephraim  L.  Blaine  to  Western  Pennsylvania — His  resources  and  char- 
acter— Condition  of  the  country — Education  and  dispositions  of  the  elder  Blaine — 
First  training  of  James  Gillespie— Indian  Hill  Farm— Present  condition  of  the  old 
house  and  surroundings— Captain  Van  Hook  and  his  traditions — Narrative  of  J.  E. 
Adams — Blaine's  early  aptitudes — Home  training  of  the  boy — Celtic  influences — 
Early  impressions  and  culture— Mother's  influence — First  connection  with  the 
Ewings — Blaine  and  Thomas  Ewing,  Jr.— James'  earliest  ambitions— Paternal  policy 
respecting  him— Blaine  in  school  at  Lancaster— The  two  youths  select  their  colleges- 
Lyons  chosen  as  a  tutor— He  prepares  the  boys  for  collegiate  training— Traditions  of 
Blaine's  school  days  at  West  Brownsville— What  might  have  been  and  what  not— 
Story  of  the  boy's  readiness— Jefferson  College  and  Washington  and  Jefferson 
College — Story  of  the  founding  of  these  institutions — College  life  and  tradition — 
Gow's  account  of  Blaine  in  his  college  days— Fallacy  of  the  classmate — Blaine's 
superiority  as  a  student— His  preferences  in  study— Plutarch  in  particular— Mathe- 
matical aptitude— A  born  debater— The  College  Literary  Society— Usurpation  of  the 
Greek  fraternity — Blaine's  superiority  in  forensics — Story  of  Hamilton — Appearance 
of  young  Blaine  in  youth— His  rank  at  graduation— Condition  of  affairs  at  date  of 
graduation— Opinions  and  events  of  the  day — The  Mexican  question  in  particular — 

Beginning  of  slavery  propagandism— Close  of  the  youthful  period 






Evolution  of  Individual  Character -Blaine  a  possible  teacher— Influence  of  instructors 
in  determining  pursuits — Choice  of  Kentucky  as  a  scene  of  action — The  Western 
Military  Institute — Personnel  and  character  of  the  school — Prevalence  of  such  insti- 
tutions in  the  South — Blaine  makes  the  acquaintance  of  Harriet  Stanwood — His 
character  as  a  teacher — His  relations  with  the  students — He  contemplates  another 
profession — Death  of  his  father — He  marries  Miss  Stanwood — The  Stanwood  family — 
Further  career  at  Blue  Lick  Springs — Resigns  his  position  and  goes  to  Philadelphia — 
Begins  the  study  of  law — Enters  the  Pennsylvania  Institution  for  the  Instruction  of 
the  Blind — Doctor  Chapin's  narrative  of  Blaine's  entrance  into  the  school — Character 
of  that  institution — Early  beginning  of  Blaine  in  manly  work — His  success  as  an 
instructor  in  Philadelphia—  Sketch  of  the  Pennsylvania  Institution — Blaine's  journal 
of  the  school — Extracts  therefrom — Excellent  character  of  the  record — Michael 
Williams  and  his  narratives  regarding  Blaine— Habits  of  Blaine  and  his  wife  in  their 
intercourse  with  the  students— Blaine's  personal  methods — Notice  of  David  Wood — 
Note  of  Mr.  Frank  Battles — Blaine  continues  his  legal  studies — He  resigns  from  the 
institution — Letter  of  George  Edward  Reed — Question  of  permanent  location — Blaine 
chooses  Augusta — His  preferences  for  writing — He  becomes  an  editor  in  Maine — 
Philosophy  of  location  as  affecting  the  careers  of  public  men — Advantages  and  dis- 
advantages of  various  States — The  doubtful  States  and  the  certain — The  position  of 
Maine  considered — Character  of  the  old  leadership  in  the  United  States — Deaths  of 
Clay  and  Webster — Blaine  advantaged  and  disadvantaged  in  his  location — He 
becomes  editor  of  the  Kennebec  Journal — The  firm  of  Baker  and  Blaine — Legal  life 
and  editorial  life — Blaine  a  natural  politician — His  equipment  for  a  public  career — 
Political  character  of  the  epoch — Death  of  the  Whig  party — Anarchy  in  politics — 
Know-nothingism — Domination  of  negro  slavery— The  year  1854 — "Tom's  Cabin" 
and  Helper's  "Crisis" — Intellectual  warfare — Voice  of  the  Abolitionist — Birth  of  a 
new  political  party — The  political  animal — How  he  ranks  himself — Natural  attitudes 
of  parties — Blaine  one  of  the  insurgents — In  at  the  birth  of  the  Republican  part}' — 
Free  Kansas — Blaine's  manner  and  method  as  an  editor — Intelligence  of  the  Maine 
folk — The  old  editorial  and  the  new — Files  of  the  Kennebec  Journal — Extracts  there- 
from— Blaine's  article  on  Hannibal  Hamlin — His  praise  of  that  statesman  for. his 
attitude  on  the  Kansas  question — Article  on  the  Topeka  Constitution — Controversy 
with  the  Age  newspaper  respecting  that  instrument — Editorial  on  Border  Ruffianism 
in  Maine — Criticism  of  the  Southern  leaders — Blaine' s  antagonism  to  the  slave  trade — 
The  flag  with  eighteen  stars — Editorial  on  the  State  election  of  1856 — Review  of 
national  questions — Forecast  of  Fremont's  election — Appeal  to  Maine  to  speak  for 
liberty — Review  of  the  situation  in  Massachusetts— Political  predictions  of  the  result 
of  the  presidential  election — Editorial  on  the  contest  in  Pennsylvania — Shrewd  cal- 
culations in  regard  to  results  in  that  State — Blaine's  letters  from  the  contested  field — 
Communication  from  Pittsburgh — His  enthusiastic  predictions  in  favor  of  the  Union 
party — Sharp  editorial  comments  on  political  conditions — The  Philadelphia  letter  of 
October — The  candidates  and  issues  handled,  with  estimates  of  strength  and  summary 
of  results — Predictions  as  to  divisions  in  the  electoral  college — Editorial  of  August 
in  reply  to  an  attack  made  by  the  Age — Editorial  work  leads  to  political  aspirations— 
Blaine's  timidity — His  first  experience  as  a  leader — His  address  on  returning  from 
the  National  Convention  of  1856 — His  manner  and  success — Philosophy  of  the  maiden 
effort — His  hot  work  in  the  Kennebec  Journal — Early  beginning  for  a  statesman — 
Breakers  ahead — Blaine  sells  his  newspaper  interest — Becomes  editor  of  the  Portland 
Daily  Advertiser — Is  chosen  to  the   Maine  Legislature — His  manner  as  a  speaker — 



Begins  to  assert  himself  in  leadership — Twice  re-elected  to  the  House  of  Representa- 
tives— Is  made  Speaker — The  day  of  transformation — Kansas  war — The  Dred  Scott 
decision — John  Brown,  of  Ossawattomie — The  disunion  drama  opens — The  Union 
must  preserve  itself — Questions  before  the  Maine  Legislature — Resolutions  in  support 
of  the  Government — Opposition  of  Gould,  of  Thomaston — Blaine's  speech  in 
reply — He  discusses  the  war  power  of  the  nation — Interprets  the  Constitution — Sup- 
premacy  claimed  for  Congress — That  body  compared  with  the  House  of  Commons — 
Citation  from  Vattel — The  Government  may  rightfully  make  war  on  seceded  States- 
May  take  back  her  ports — Sumner's  position  upheld  in  argument — Able  summary, 
with  citations  from  American  statesmen — Blaine  a  rising  man — His  power  of  study 
and  investigation — Is  appointed  Prison  Commissioner  and  State  printer — In  the 
Republican  National  Convention  of  i860 — Supports  Lincoln — Circumstances  hedge 
his  way — Is  elected  to  Congress  in  1862 — Condition  of  the  country  at  that  time,     .     .   '   50-98 



Comments  on  the  "New  Member" — Opening  of  the  Thirty-eighth  Congress — Per- 
sonnel of  that  body — Blaine's  appearance  and  manner — Remarks  of  others  respecting 
him — How  he  regarded  himself — Difficulties  in  beginning  a  congressional  career — 
Blaine  and  Garfield — Both  have  the  habit  of  work — Little  speaking  at  first — Blaine 
begins  to  emerge — Crisis  of  the  Civil  War — Questions  that  came  with  it — Money  and 
tariff — Blaine's  speech  in  answer  to  Sunset  Cox — He  becomes  a  sharp  debater — Pro- 
gress of  political  events — McClellan  a  candidate  for  the  Presidency — Paradox  of  the 
Democratic  position — Re-election  of  Lincoln — Blaine  renominated  for  Congress — His 
letter  of  acceptance — He  discusses  national  questions  therein — Stands  strongly  by  the 
Government,  and  advocates  the  preservation  of  the  Union  by  force — In  the  Thirty- 
ninth  Congress — End  of  the  war — Old  basis  of  representation — The  negro  shall  be 
counted — Blaine's  speech  on  the  new  basis — Political  complexion  of  affairs — Leader- 
ship of  Henry  Winter  Davis — Competitors  for  his  cloak — Notice  of  Roscoe  Conkling — 
His  rivalry  with  Blaine — The  break  of  1866 — Altercation  in  Congress — Account 
of  the  great  battle  between  the  leaders — Narrative  of  S.  S.  Cox — Blaine's  sarcasm — 
The  abyss  opens  between  him  and  Conkling — Measures  advocated  by  the  former  in 
Congress — The  money  issue  in  particular — He  takes  a  middle  ground — Account  of 
the  struggle  between  paper  money  and  coin — Interests  of  the  debtor  and  creditor 
classes — Blaine  advocates  the  honest  dollar — He  sesks  to  promote  commerce — His 
studies,  readings  and  conclusions — Travels  abroad — Comments  of  the  Rockland 
Democrat  on  his  renomination  to  Congress — Blaine  becomes  popular  at  Washington — 
His  fame  blown  abroad — Makes  no  mistakes — Measures  in  which  he  interested  him- 
self— His  success  in  the  Fortieth  Congress — Re-elected  in  1868 — Chosen  to  the 
Speakership — Review  of  his  career  and  rise  to  distinction, 99-114 



Significance  of  an  Election  to  the  Speakership— Temper  of  the  House  with  respect 
thereto — Comparison  of  Clay,  Colfax  and  Blaine — Elements  of  superiority  in  the 
latter — Balancing  of  merits  between  him  and  Clay — Popularity  of  each — So-called 
personal  magnetism — Warmth  of  great  leaders — Contrast  of  the  Speaker  and  President 
Grant — Respective  influence  of  the  two  officers — Conkling's  relations  to  both — His 
ascendancy  over  the  President — Originating  power  of  the  Speaker — Fine  qualities 
exhibited  by  Blaine — Life  of  a  congressman — Duties  of  the  Speaker — How  they  may 
be  met — Blaine's  temperance  and  industry — Condition  of  affairs  in  the  South — The 



"Act  to  strengthen  the  public  credit" — Blaine's  influence  in  relation  thereto — He 
upholds  the  dominant  policy — Republicanism  inherits  the  negro — Failure  of  the 
latter  to  be  transformed  by  freedom — The  symposium  on  the  disfranchisement  of  the 
blacks — Should  suffrage  be  universal? — Increase  of  Blaine's  reputation — Rivals  and 
rivalries — The  credit  mobilier — Republican  party  on  the  defensive — Resolution  of 
endorsement  at  close  of  Blaine's  first  term — He  is  re-elected  Speaker — His  contest 
with  B.  F.  Butler — Question  at  issue  and  Blaine's  speech — Resolutions  of  confidence — 
Political  reaction  of  1874 — A  Democratic  majority  in  the  House — Blaine's  speech  on 
retiring  from  the  Speakership — His  comments  on  the  office — He  is  returned  to 
Congress — The  Presidency  rises  on  the  view, 115-126 



Elaine  in  the  Forty-fourth  Congress — The  House  and  the  Senate  as  arenas  of  political 
ambition — Condition  of  affairs  in  the  South — Return  of  the  Confederates  to  Con- 
gress— Blaine  makes  himself  champion  of  Republican  sentiment — His  debate  with 
Hill  on  the  proposed  amnesty  of  Jefferson  Davis — He  charges  the  Confederate  Presi- 
dent with  responsibility  for  the  horrors  of  Andersonville — Blaine's  name  mentioned 
for  the  Presidency — Question  of  the  railroad  bonds  was  raised — Disposition  of  the 
times  to  kill  off  public  men  with  charges  of  corruption — Blaine's  defence  of  him- 
self— His  connection  with  the  Little  Rock  and  Fort  Smith  Railroad — History  of  the 
transaction — Blaine  denies  complicity,  and  speaks  on  the  subject  in  Congress — Spec- 
tacle of  the  Mulligan  letter  day — Blaine  a  candidate  before  the  National  Convention 
of  1876 — Organization  of  that  body — Competitors  for  the  prize — Roscoe  Conkling — 
Benjamin  H.  Bristow — Oliver  P.  Morton — Rutherford  B.  Hayes — Story  of  the  Con- 
vention— Ingersoll's  nominating  speech — Result  of  the  Convention — Nomination  of 
Hayes — Blaine's  telegram — He  participates  in  the  canvass — The  disputed  Presi- 
dency— The  Electoral  Commission — Blaine's  health — He  is  appointed  to  the  Senate 
of  the  United  States — His  letter  to  his  constituents — An  aspirant  for  the  Presidency — 
Changed  and  changing  political  conditions — Project  for  the  re-election  of  General 
Grant — Discussion  of  the  third-term  question — Grant's  relations  thereto — Assembling 
of  the  Republican  Convention  of  1880 — Marshaling  of  forces — Blaine  the  favorite — ■ 
His  competitors — The  break  for  Garfield — Nomination  of  the  latter  for  the  Presi- 
dency— Blaine  supports  him,  and  he  is  chosen — -The  former  appointed  Secretary  of 
State — Friendship  of  himself  and  the  President — The  assassination  and  its  results — 
Blaine  resigns  from  the  Cabinet — Return  of  the  Presidential  year — The  field  for 
1884 — Sherman,  Arthur  and  Blaine — The  Chicago  Convention — L,ist  of  the  con- 
testants— Blaine  carries  the  day — Enthusiasm  over  the  result — Telegram  from  Mrs. 
Garfield — Blaine's  address  accepting  the  nomination — Campaign  of  1884 — Upheaval 
of  scandals — Blaine's  visit  to  New  York  City — The  Burchard  incident  and  its  effects — ■ 
Defeat  of  the  Republican  candidate — Blaine's  retiracy  to  private  life — His  resi- 
dences in  Washington  and  Maine — Devotes  himself  to  literary  pursuits — Value  of  his 
historical  productions — Anecdote  of  General  Grant — Blaine's  speech  after  his  defeat — 
He  takes  part  in  the  campaign  of  1886 — Moderation  of  his  views  on  the  tariff  ques- 
tion— Will  he  again  stand  for  the  Presidency  ? — The  spell  of  his  name — Story  of  the 
Florence  letter — Presidential  contest  of  1888 — Candidates  before  the  Republican 
Convention — Nomination  of  Harrison — Break  in  Blaine's  vitality — His  reasons  for 
not  appearing  in  the  contest  of  1888— He  is  again  appointed  Secretary  of  State — ■ 
Retires  from  the  position — Embarrassing  conditions  of  1892 — The  last  eclipse — Defeat 
of  the  favorite  at  Minneapolis — His  weakened  condition — Fame  follows  him  into 
private  life 127-156 

CONTENTS.  xiii 




Condition  of  Affairs  on  Blaine's  Entrance  into  the  Senate— Character  of  that 
body — Comparison  of  the  two  Houses — "No  mercy  here" — Quiet  of  the  Senate 
chamber — Preparation  for  service  in  the  Upper  House — Blaine's  qualifications — His 
temper  with  respect  to  senatorial  service — His  relation  to  the  Tilden-Hayes  contest — 
Views  of  the  statesman  on  the  remonetization  of  silver — History  of  that  question — 
Struggle  between  the  fund-holding  and  producing  classes — Exposition  of  the  dollar — 
Omission  of  the  American  dollar  from  the  list  of  coins — Blaine's  thesis  on  the  ques- 
tion— His  interest  on  other  topics — The  commerce  of  the  United  States — He  favors 
the  restoration  of  American  commerce— Summary  of  his  position  on  the  subject — 
Wherein  he  may  be  praised — The  Halifax  fishery  award — Strange  provision  of  the 
Treaty  of  Washington — Provision  for  the  appointment  of  the  umpire — Delfosse's 
position  in  the  court — He  decides  against  the  United  States — The  principle  of  arbi- 
tration upheld — Apparition  of  the  solid  South — Question  of  troops  at  the  polls — Issue 
of  Chinese  immigration — Character  of  the  Chinese — History  of  the  relations  between 
the  United  States  and  China — The  Chinese  labor  trade — Danger  of  an  invasion — 
Abrogation  of  the  Burlingame  Treaty — Formation  of  a  new  international  compact — 
Blaine's  distinguished  place  in  the  Senate — His  letter  to  Garfield  accepting  a  place 
in  the  Cabinet — Admirable  temper  of  the  communication — Foreign  policy  of  the 
Garfield  administration  as  explained  by  Blaine — Project  of  a  Peace  Congress — Inter- 
val between  the  first  and  second  service  in  the  Cabinet — Harrison  reappoints  him 
Secretary  of  State — He  renews  his  policies — Extent  of  his  international  correspond- 
ence— Death  of  his  children,  Walker  and  Alice — Anecdote  by  Bishop  Hurst — 
Break  in  Blaine's  health — His  personal  appearance  and  habit — Will  he  again  stand 
for  the  Presidency? — Vexatious  relations  with  the  administration — Blaine  retires 
from  the  Cabinet — Failure  in  Minneapolis, 157-172 



A  Peace  Congress  of  the  American  States— It  is  held  under  Blaine's  auspices— His 
address  of  welcome — His  summary  of  the  nations  represented — Hope  of  establishing 
confidence  and  friendship  among  them — Theory  that  the  American  nations  ought  to 
abide  in  sympathy — Outline  of  beliefs  and  sentiments — Subjects  to  be  presented  at 
the  Conference — The  address  the  highest  expression  of  Blaine's  statesmanship — 
Nations  represented,  and  list  of  delegates— Blaine  chosen  President  of  the  Confer- 
ence— The  committees  appointed — Extent  and  variety  of  the  subjects  discussed — 
Report  of  Committee  on  Weights  and  Measures — Amendment  to  the  same — Report 
of  Committee  on  Inter-Continental  Railways— Reports  of  Committee  on  Customs 
Unions — Conflict  among  the  nations  on  the  question  of  free  trade — Obscurity  of  the 
subject — The  question  one  of  advantage— Debate  thereon  in  the  Conference — Report 
of  Committee  on  Communication  on  the  Atlantic — Outline  of  its  provisions — Similar 
report  from  Committee  on  Communication  on  the  Pacific — Appendix  thereto  by  Estee, 
of  California — Second  report  on  the  same  subject — Recommendations  from  Committee 
on  Harbor  Fees  and  Regulations— Report  of  Committee  on  Patents  and  Trade  Marks- 
Committee  on  Extradition  of  Criminals  makes  its  report — The  question  of  an  inter- 
national monetary  union — Nature  of  that  issue  explained — The  bottom  contest  between 
the  debtor  and  the  creditor — Debate  on  the  subject — Recommendations  of  the  committee 
— Ambiguity  of  the  measures  proposed — Travesty  on  the  question — Report  of  Com- 
mittee on  International  American  Bank— Recommendations  from  Committee  on  Private 
International  Law — Also  from  Committee  on  Plan  of  Arbitration — Close  of  the  sessions 
of  the  Conference— Blaine's  farewell  address— The  event  the  acme  of  his  career,     .     .   173-188 





Circumstances  that  Led  to  the  Writing  of  the  Paris  Letter— Tariff  message  of 
President  Cleveland — Comments  thereon  by  the  public — Sensational  features  of  the 
document — Blaine  undertakes  an  answer — His  residence  in  Paris — Form  in  which  the 
letter  appeared — Henry  W.  Knight's  narrative  of  its  production — He  recites  Blaine's 
own  account  of  the  writing  of  the  paper — Extraordinary  feat  of  work — Blaine's 
exhaustion  afterwards — Mr.  Knight's  relations  with  the  statesman — Text  of  the  Paris 
letter — Mr.  Smalley's  report  of  his  interview  with  Blaine — The  latter  gives  his  views 
on  the  tariff — He  proposes  a  repeal  of  the  tobacco  tax — Favors  the  retention  of  the 
tax  on  whisky — Coast  defences  should  be  paid  for  from  this  revenue — In  time  of  peace 
prepare  for  war — Houses  and  farms  pay  too  much  tax — Wool-growers  must  be  pro- 
tected— Vital  importance  of  the  labor  question — What  will  become  of  the  farmers  ? — 
Tariff  of  1864  and  its  results — How  Blaine  would  reduce  the  revenue — Possible  effects 
of  Cleveland's  policy — An  American  market  for  the  American  people — Unlimited  free 
trade  at  home — Need  of  a  new  political  economy — The  South  should  demand  pro- 
tection— Fallacy  of  admitting  raw  materials — A  full  and  fair  contest  on  the  free  trade 
issue  demanded, 189-201 



Quotation  from  Cellini — Famous  autobiographies — Interest  of  self-revelations — Notes 
of  Washington  and  Grant — Why  the  public  would  know  its  heroes — Gradual  growth 
favors  public  interest — Blaine's  conspicuous  and  continuous  career — Elements  of 
popularity— His  person  described — A  knight  without  reproach — Industries  of  Maine 
described — Blaine's  own  district — His  editorial  profession  — Residence  in  Augusta — 
Addition  to  the  house — Story  of  the  officious  driver — The  Augusta  home — The 
family — Political  life  in  the  commonwealth — Blaine  as  a  spellbinder — His  manner  as 
a  campaigner — Receptions  at  the  Blaine  house — A  soiree  dansante — Blaine's  manner 
on  such  occasions — His  methods  as  chairman  of  the  committee — His  tactics  as  a 
politician — His  acquaintance  with  friends,  public  and  private — Popularity  of  the 
leader  among  his  followers — A  good  giver — Meetings  with  original  characters — 
Blaine's  charm  in  conversation — His  methods  in  conversing — Courtesy  and  the  desire 
to  please — Anecdote  of  Friend  William — Blaine's  fondness  for  walking  and  driving — 
Speaking  as  an  exercise — Attractions  of  Maine  as  a  summer  resort — Blaine  in  the 
campaign  wagon — His  nerve  as  a  driver — California  incident — The  statesman  walks 
much  and  communes  with  Nature — Anecdote  of  Choate — Blaine's  rhetoric — Subject- 
matter  of  his  speeches — His  library  facilities — His  study  of  men — Anecdote  of  the 
organ-grinder  before  the  Seward  House — Organization  of  Blaine  in  mind  and  body— 
His  superstitions — Notions  about  his  health — His  resources  and  business  methods — 
His  religious  belief  and  habits— The  Blaine  family  enumerated— Walker  Blaine  in 
particular— Alice— Emmons— Margaret— Harriet  and  James  G.,  Jr.— Life  in  the 
Augusta  home— Historical  interest  about  the  place  where  dwelt  the  Man  from  Maine,   202-216 



Great  Men  Seek  an  Interval  of  Repose— Some  die  in  the  harness— Blaine's  temper 
favorable  to  fighting  out  the  battle— Circumstances  limit  preference— His  retirement 
from  the  Cabinets  of  Garfield  and  Harrison  result  from  historical  conditions — Blaine's 
residence  on  Lafayette  Park— His  home  in  Augusta— His  summer  home  at  Bar 
Harbor— Tradition  of  Mount  Desert  Island— Description  of  the  Blaine  villa— The 



Washington  House  in  Fifteenth  Street— The  Dupont  Circle  mansion — Traditions  of 
the  Seward  House — Blaine  an  assiduous  worker — His  literary  aspirations — He  writes 
much — His  residence  in  Washington  and  his  travels  abroad — Evidences  of  breaking 
health — Sorrow  for  the  death  of  his  children — His  last  public  speech — Nature  of  the 
disease  with  which  he  was  prostrated — Story  of  his  decline — Death  comes  suddenly — 
Report  of  the  physicians  on  his  ailments — Incidents  of  the  last  day — The  death- 
chamber — Impression  produced  on  the  public  mind — Proclamation  of  the  President — 
Congress  adjourns — Tone  of  the  newspaper  press — Subject-matter  of  criticisms  and 
eulogies — Preparations  for  the  funeral — Oak  Hill  Cemetery  chosen  for  sepulture — 
Public  expectation— Pageants  and  private  funerals  compared — Blaine  chose  the 
latter — List  of  the  pallbearers — Church  and  clergymen — Ceremonies  of  the  occa- 
sion— Casket  and  inscription — Religious  question  again — A  Catholic  and  Protestant 
household — The  Georgetown  Cemetery — The  funeral  proper — Tributes  and  flowers — 
Ceremonies  at  the  residence — Sendees  at  the  Church  of  the  Covenant — The  address 
and  the  music — The  procession — Crowds  en  route — Scenes  in  the  cemetery — The 
burial-place — Graphic  account  of  the  visit  of  Mrs.  Blaine  to  the  grave  of  her 
husband — Requiescat  in  pace, 217-233 



Early  Passion  of  Blaine  for  Public  Speech — His  address  announcing  the  nomination 
of  Fremont — He  reviews  the  slavery  question  in  the  United  States — Right  of  the 
Government  to  regulate  the  institution  in  the  Territories: — Reviews  the  proceedings  in 
the  first  Republican  Convention— Caustic  comments  on  Buchanan — The  speaker 
appeals  to  the  Republicans  of  Maine — Urges  the  candidacy  of  Hamlin — Result  of  the 
Presidential  election  of  1856 — Blaine's  Farmington  speech — He  discusses  the  issues 
of  i860 — National  questions  handled  in  a  masterly  way — He  antagonizes  slavery — 
Reviews  the  Dred  Scott  decision — Shows  the  fallacy  of  the  pro-slavery  position — Cries 
out  for  restriction — Comments  on  the  events  of  the  past  four  years — Shows  the  hope- 
less division  of  the  Democratic  party — Predicts  the  election  of  Lincoln — Praises 
Hamlin — Indicates  a  protective  policy  for  the  Government— Shows  the  causes  of 
fluctuation  in  the  value  of  commodities — Tide  of  prosperity  turned  against  the 
United  States— Discusses  the  financial  crisis  of  1857— Shows  the  antagonism  of 
slavery  to  free  industry  and  high  wages — Reviews  the  political  contest  of  the  past 
twenty  years— Exhorts  the  people  of  Maine  to  stand  by  the  Republican  policy- 
Peculiar  interest  of  the  address  in  the  light  of  subsequent  developments 234-244 



Blaine  Aspires  to  Congress — His  speech  on  the  confiscation  of  rebel  property — He 
reviews  the  course  of  the  war,  and  argues  in  favor  of  prosecuting  it  to  the  end — 
Enters  Congress — Speaks  on  the  financial  condition  of  the  country— Also  on  the 
futility  of  attempting  to  equalize  coin  and  paper  money — Comments  on  the  provisions 
of  the  Stevens  Bill— Shows  the  condition  of  affairs  should  the  same  become  a  law- 
Cites  English  history  against  the  measure— Advocates  the  adoption  of  English 
methods  in  preserving  the  national  credit— Question  of  a  new  basis  of  representa- 
tion—Blaine's  speech  on  that  subject— Shows  the  advantage  which  the  seceded  States 
had  enjoyed  in  congressional  representation — Severe  strictures  on  the  current  appor- 
tionment—Evokes the  Constitution  against  it— Urges  the  adoption  of  a  new  basis 
according  to  population— Speaks  in  Maine  on  the  same  subject— Question  of  recon- 
struction arises — Blaine's  address  on  the  restoration  of  the  late  insurgents  to  civil 



p0Wer— Unfairness  of  Southern  election— Proposes  amendment  to  the  Constitution 
covering  basis  of  representation  and  principles  for  reorganizing  the  Union— Attacks 
the  principle  of  counting  negroes  when  they  are  disfranchised— Shows  the  unjust 
influence  of  the  old  Southern  States  in  the  electoral  college— Appeals  to  the  late 
elections  in  favor  of  reform— Duties  of  the  Government  to  protect  all  its  citizens  in 
equal  right  before  the  Constitution  and  the  laws— Question  of  the  payment  of  the 
public  debt— Blaine  shows  that  the  national  honor  is  involved  in  full  payment  of  the 
obligations  imposed  by  the  war— He  attacks  the  new  doctrine  of  the  payment  of  the 
debt  in  paper  money— Considers  the  character  and  true  significance  of  the  national 
bonds— Advocates  payment  of  both  principal  and  interest  in  coin— Even  the  five- 
twenty  bonds  are  redeemable  in  metallic  money— Controverts  the  views  of  Pendleton— 
Urges  that  the  bonds,  by  terms  of  their  negotiation,  were  payable  in  coin— Shows 
that  Stevens  had  changed  his  position— Nature  of  the  ten-forty  bonds— Method  of 
sale  of  the  Government  securities— Supplementary  Loan  Bill  of  1864— The  seven- 
thirty  bonds— History  of  the  bill  for  the  issuance  of  the  coin  bonds— Extracts  from 
Secretary  Chase's  letter— Argument  that  the  bonded  debt  is  rightfully  payable  in 
coin— Review  of  the  course  of  Chase,  Fessenden  and  McCulloch— Fessenden's  decla- 
ration relative  to  the  five-twenties— McCulloch 's  letter  to  Morton  and  Company- 
Proposition  to  pay  the  five-twenties  in  greenbacks  discussed— Question  of  taxing  the 
Government  bonds— Blaine's  speech  of  June,  1 863— He  opposes  the  project  to  tax 
the  Government's  securities — Shows  where  such  taxation  would  fall  -  Indicates  the 
corporations  by  which  the  national  bonds  were  held— Demonstrates  the  infeasibility 
of  the  proposed  measure— Question  of  local  and  general  taxation  of  the  securities 
discussed— The  project  to  tax  a  matter  of  bad  faith— Advancement  in  Blaine's 
'  career — He  is  appointed  to  a  seat  in  the  Senate, 245-270 



The  Senate  Not  so  Well  Suited  as  the  House  to  Blaine's  Genius— His  age  and 
character  on  entering  the  senatorial  body — Question  of  the  remonetization  of  silver  — 
Blaine's  speech  on  that  subject— The  power  of  Congress  over  the  coinage -discussed — 
History  of  the  question  in  other  countries — Difficulties  of  bi-metallism  considered  — 
The  real  question  before  Congress— What  would  follow  if  free  coinage  of  silver  were 
permitted — Dangers  of  a  depreciated  dollar— Anecdote  of  Vanderbilt — The  hard- 
money  argument  in  extenso — -Blaine  not  a  mono-metallist — Impossibility  of  striking 
out  silver  from  the  coinage — Citations  from  Hamilton— Position  of  Stanley  Matthews 
controverted — The  bonds  payable  in  standard  coin  of  July  14,  1870 — Bad  grace  of  the 
demand  for  payment  in  gold  only — Blaine  discerned  that  gold  had  risen  in  the 
market — He  proposes  an  augmented  silver  dollar— The  bill  offered  by  Blaine  as  a 
substitute — He  foresees  the  failure  of  his  measure — Denounces  cheap  money — Advo- 
cates the  maintenance  of  parity  between  the  two  money  metals — Question  of  the 
Halifax  award  arises — Blaine  speaks  on  the  question — Explains  the  character  of  the 
commission — Antecedents  of  the  transaction — Absurdity  of  allowing  an  Austrian 
minister  to  appoint  the  umpire — Blaine  concedes  honorable  intentions  to  Sir  Edward 
Thornton  and  M.  Delfosse — Animadverts  upon  the  character  of  the  award — Position 
of  the  American  commissioner  discussed — Citation  from  Redman  on  "Arbitration 
and  Award" — Other  authorities  quoted — Shall  the  Government  accept  the  decision 
of  the  commission  ? — Remarks  by  Hannibal  Hamlin — Blaine's  response — He  con- 
tinues the  discussion  in  a  second  speech — Describes  the  efforts  of  Lord  Granville  to 
secure  the  appointment  of  Delfosse  as  umpire — Quotation  from  the  London  Times — 
Attitude  of  the  Canadian  ministry  discussed — Injustice  of  the  award — Blaine's  policy 
of  extending  the  influence  of  the  United  States — Anecdote  of  Macaulay — Question  of 



Chinese  immigration  again— Blaine  leads  in  an  effort  to  secure  restriction— His  speech 
of  February,  1879— Urges  the  abrogation  of  the  Burlingame  Treaty— Reviews  the 
position  of  Stanley  Matthews— Shows  that  the  Chinese  have  violated  their  con- 
tract—Demonstrates that  immigration  can  only  be  permitted  when  it  is  voluntary- 
Remarks  of  Mr.  Matthews— Continuance  of  Blaine's  address— Shows  that  the  Bur- 
lingame Treaty  is  peculiar— Necessity  of  demanding  its  abrogation— Further  contro- 
versy with  Senator  Matthews — Analogies  drawn  from  our  relations  with  other 
countries— History  of  the  controversy  relative  to  immigration— Can  the  Chinese 
become  citizens  ?  Number  of  the  Orientals  come  into  the  United  States— Easiness 
of  a  Chinese  invasion— Necessity  that  the  Mongolians  should  be  excluded— Question 
of  enfranchising  the  Chinese— Blaine  accuses  Senators  of  desiring  to  shirk  their 
responsibilities— Response  of  Hamlin— A  senatorial  colloquy— The  race  question  not 
to  be  lightly  put  aside— Difficulty  of  dealing  with  Chinese  immigrants— Imminent 
danger  to  the  society  and  industries  of  California— Blaine  regrets  the  hard  treatment 
to  which  the  Chinese  have  been  subjected— Their  cheap  labor  not  desirable  in  com- 
petition with  that  of  America— Summary  of  the  question  at  issue— The  Chinese  issue 
goes  to  the  country— Blaine  speaks  on  the  subject  a  second  time  in  the  Senate— Urges 
the  importance  of  restriction— Replies  to  the  Senator  from  Louisiana— Quotation  from 
Lincoln— Blaine  discusses  the  difference  between  the  Chinese  question  and  the  ques- 
tion of  negro  enfranchisement— Cites  the  record  of  Hannibal  Hamlin  against  him- 
self—Qualities of  Blaine's  mind  as  exhibited  in  the  discussion— His  brilliancy  as  a 
congressional  debater, 27i—?o6 



Blaine's  Mind  Essentially  Diplomatical— Statesmanship  tends  to  internationality— 
Blaine  gives  himself  up  to  the  spirit  of  the  age— He  adopts  a  policy  as  Secretary  of 
State— His  friendliness  to  the  Irish  cause— His  State  paper  on  the  Clayton- Bui wer 
Treaty  and  interoceanic  canals— Contends  for  the  right  of  the  United  States  to  control 
the  highways  across  the  Isthmus  of  Panama — Citations  from  the  existing  treaties — 
Attitude  of  the  Government  on  the  question — Advises  the  American  Minister  to  notify 
Lord  Granville  of  the  existing  provision  and  treaty  stipulations  on  the  question — Sets 
forth  the  purposes  and  commercial  policies  of  the  United  States— Treaty  of  1846— Rela- 
tions of  the  United  States  and  Colombia — Extension  of  the  railway  system  of  Mexico 
and  Central  America — Importance  of  the  canal  as  a  means  of  transit  from  sea  to  sea — 
The  friendly  intentions  of  the  United  States  declared— European  policies  cannot  be 
adopted  in  America — The  powers  of  Europe  have  frequently  guaranteed  neutrality  and 
independence— Advises  Lowell  to  let  be  known  the  views  of  the  American  Govern- 
ment— Citation  of  the  President's  inaugural — Continuance  of  the  discussion  in  Novem- 
ber, 1881 — Quotation  from  existing  agreement  respecting  the  interoceanic  canal — 
Great  interest  of  the  United  States  in  maintaining  American  prerogative — Small 
interest  of  Great  Britain— Blaine  plants  himself  on  the  Clayton-Bulwer  Treaty- 
Urges  modification  of  existing  agreement — Shows  the  policy  of  Great  Britain  at 
Gibraltar  and  Suez — Vastness  of  the  American  interest  at  stake— The  Pacific  Coast 
especially  concerned — Impracticability  of  making  the  Isthmian  canals  except  under 
supervision  of  the  United  States — The  question  of  war  considered — Necessity  for 
abrogating  or  amending  the  treaty — Great  Britain's  promise  to  aid  in  the  construction 
of  the  Nicaraguan  canal — Summary  of  principles  demanded  for  the  Government  of 
the  United  States — Pledge  that  the  latter  will  act  in  harmony  with  the  other  American 
republics — The  canal  intended  as  an  agent  of  peaceful  commerce — Reasons  for  dis- 
cussing the  question  at  that  juncture — Lowell  urged  to  communicate  Blaine's  views 
to  Lord  Granville — Third  State  paper  on  the  same  subject — Original  opposition  to  the 

xviii  CONTENTS. 

Clayton-Bulwer  Treaty  in  our  country— Views  of  the  two  nations  irreconcilable  under 
the  treaty— Failure  of  the  Clarendon-Dallas  Treaty— Quotation  from  Lord  Napier— 
Cass'  note  of  1857— Napier  predicts  the  abrogation  of  the  treaty— Further  complica- 
tions of  the  question— Communication  of  Cass  to  Lord  Napier— Sir  William  Ouseley's 
mission— Citation  from  Buchanan's  message  to  Congress— The  triple  deadlock  of 
1857— Instructions  of  Lord  Clarendon  to  Napier  in  the  following  year— Further  official 
papers  on  the  subject  of  the  treat} — Napier's  dispatch  of  March,  1858— Review  of 
the  history  of  the  treaty  from  its  enactment  to  the  current  date— Reasons  why  it  can 
no  longer  hold  as  an  agreement  between  the  United  States  and  Great  Britain— Blaine's 
paper  on  arbitrary  arrests  in  Ireland— The  case  of  Michael  P.  Boyton— Expectation 
that  justice  will  be  done  under  the  law— The  Secretary  continues  the  subject  in  June, 
1 88 1— Discussion  of  the  Protection  Act  of  Parliament— The  case  of  Joseph  B.  Walsh- 
Principles  by  which  the  American  Government  will  be  guided  in  the  case  of  accused 
Irishmen  claiming  citizenship — The  Jewish  question  comes  to  the  fore — Blaine's  paper 
on  the  oppression  of  the  Hebrews  in  Russia — Nature  of  the  American  interest  in  the 
Russian  Jews — Citation  of  certain  cases — Blaine's  desire  that  harmony  might  be 
reached  in  Russia's  treatment  of  the  Israelites — The  rights  of  moral  freedom  in  foreign 
lands  discussed — Condition  of  the  Hebrews  in  Russia  presented — Blaine  seeks  to 
employ  the  influence  of  Great  Britain  for  the  betterment  of  the  Russian  Hebrews- 
Breaking  out  of  the  Peru-Chilian  war — Interest  of  the  United  States  in  the  South 
American  republics — Blaine's  dispatches  to  the  American  Minister — He  seeks  to 
restore  peace  among  the  Southern  republics — His  paper  on  the  existing  war — He  dis- 
cusses the  progress  of  events  and  urges  peace — Citation  from  Christiancy's  correspond- 
ence— Proposition  to  recognize  the  Calderon  Government — Letter  of  Mr.  Osborne 
from  Santiago — Instruction  to  General  Kilpatrick — Reports  of  that  officer  on  the 
South  American  situation — Blaine  summarizes  the  actions  of  our  Government  in  the 
premises — Discussion  of  Chili's  change  of  policy — Cause  of  offence  to  the  Government 
of  the  United  States — Complication  respecting  General  Hurlbut — Difficulty  of  deter- 
mining the  true  state  of  affairs — Possible  intervention  of  other  powers — Proposition 
to  indemnify  Chili  for  expenses  of  the  war — Protest  against  the  extinction  of  Peru- 
Instructions  to  the  American  Minister  with  respect  to  his  negotiations — Hope  that  the 
United  States  might  be  chosen  as  umpire  to  settle  the  controversy — Our  relations  with 
Mexico — Diplomatical  paper  of  Blaine  to  the  American  Minister — He  discusses  the 
question  of  commerce  and  mutual  interests  between  the  two  countries — General  rela- 
tions of  amity  advocated — Disclaimer  of  desire  to  increase  our  territories — Expressions 
of  gratification  at  Mexican  prosperity — Hope  that  the  Mexican  people  may  adopt 
improved  industrial  methods  and  increase  their  domestic  prosperity — Paper  of  detailed 
instructions — Good-will  of  the  United  States  towards  Mexican  administration — Appeal 
of  ( ruatemala  to  our  country  to  arbitrate  the  difficulties  with  Mexico — Desire  of  Blaine 
to  act  as  peace-maker  between  the  neighboring  republics — The  territorial  claim  of  the 
two  countries — The  United  States  an  impartial  friend — Mexico  reminded  of  her  own 
policy  and  principles  in  the  past — Continuance  of  the  correspondence  relative  to  the 
broken  relations  of  Mexico  and  Guatemala — Blaine  discusses  the  question  at  issue 
between  them — Mexico  urged  to  stand  by  her  own  pretensions  in  favor  of  justice  and 
equity — Wish  of  the  United  States  that  both  republics  may  possess  a  permanent  and 
efficient  government — Instructions  to  be  communicated  to  the  Mexican  Minister  of 
Foreign  Affairs — Continuation  of  the  subject  in  the  state  paper  of  November,  1881 — 
The  United  States  unwilling  that  hostilities  shall  exist  between  the  neighboring 
republics — Mexico  urged  to  refrain  from  war— Question  of  the  boundary  of  Chiapas — 
Concession  that  Mexico  may  act  as  she  pleases — The  Mexican  Minister  reminded  of 
his  own  statements — Concerning  General  Barrios — Advocacy  of  a  Central-American 
union — Reproof  of  Mexico  for  her  opposition  to  federalism — Assassination  of  Czar 


Alexander— Blaine's  paper  on  the  subject  to  the  American  Minister— Expressions  of 
sympathy  for  the  Russian  ruler  and  his  predecessor— A  reminder  of  Russia's  attitude 
towards  our  country  in  the  Civil  War— The  Czar  to  be  informed  of  the  sentiments  of 
the  American  Government— Question  of  a  peace-congress  considered— Sending  out 
of  invitations  to  the  American  republics  to  entertain  the  project— Reasons  why  such 
a  congress  should  be  promoted— The  year  1882  selected  for  the  meeting— Arguments 
in  favor  of  universal  peace— Disclaimer  of  interference  on  the  part  of  the  United 
States— The  Argentine  Republic  first  invited— Death  of  Garfield  annuls  the  enterprise- 
Response  of  the  South- American  republics— Blaine  retires  from  the  Garfield  Cabinet,  307-362 



Fascination  of  the  American  mind  for  the  great  Secretary— Blindness  of  history- 
Necessity  of  Blaine's  retirement  from  the  Garfield  ministry — He  is  recalled  under 
Harrison — A  clear  field  before  him — The  Samoan  imbroglio — Blaine's  paper  of 
instruction  to  the  American  Embassy  to  Germany— Citations  from  a  paper  by  Secre- 
tary Bayard — Review  of  the  Samoan  complication— Report  of  special  agent  Bates — 
Reason  for  peaceable  settlement  of  the  difficulty— Bismarck's  statement  to  Mr. 
Pendleton— The  latter  is  instructed  by  Bayard— Antecedents  of  the  proposed  confer- 
ence— The  course  of  the  German  Government  reprehended— The  removal  of  Malietoa 
discussed— The  United  States  protests  against  the  course  of  the  Imperial  Govern- 
ment— Urges  the  restoration  of  the  status  in  quo — Second  quotation  from  Bayard's 
correspondence — Desire  of  the  United  States  to  co-operate  in  securing  justice  in 
Samoa — Summary  of  the  German  propositions  on  the  subject — Objections  of  the 
United  States  to  the  proposed  plan — Obligations  of  the  American  Government  to 
protect  American  rights  in  the  South  Pacific— Further  reasons  why  the  United  States 
cannot  accept  the  German  scheme  of  settlement — Outline  of  the  American  plan  for 
settling  the  existing  trouble — Quotation  from  special  agent  Bates  on  the  subject — 
Summary  of  the  proposed  condition  of  peace — Wish  of  the  Government  that  the 
status  in  quo  may  be  restored — Blaine  objects  to  submitting  citizens  of  the  United 
States  to  foreign  police  inspection— Satisfactory  settlement  of  the  difficulty — The 
question  of  importing  American  pork  products  into  France — Diplomacy  of  the  swine — 
Blaine's  paper  of  June,  1889,  to  Minister  Reid — He  protests  against  the  exclusion  of 
American  pork  and  shows  the  innocence  of  commerce  in  that  article — Encloses  paper 
from  the  Chicago  Board  of  Trade — Outline  of  the  document— Minister  Reid  author- 
ized to  secure  the  opening  of  French  ports  to  the  interdicted  articles — Success  of  the 
negotiation — Blaine's  circular  on  the  importation  of  foreign  laborers — Original  act 
restricting  the  importation  of  aliens — Masters  of  vessels  to  be  held  responsible  for 
violation  of  the  law — Exception  in  favor  of  skilled  labor — The  amendatory  act — 
Secretary  of  the  Treasury  charged  with  the  duty  of  executing  the  statute — Persons 
violating  the  prohibition  to  be  sent  back  to  their  homes — Provision  for  examination 
and  tabular  statement — Method  of  returning  prohibited  immigrants — Report  respect- 
ing offenders  and  offending  vessels — Blaine  seeks  to  encourage  trade  with  Mexico — 
Appointment  of  Rusk  as  Secretary  of  Agriculture — Paper  of  the  Beet  Producers'  Asso- 
ciation— Question  of  contagious  diseases  among  cattle — Report  of  Mr.  Coleman  from 
the  Bureau  of  Animal  Industry — Difficulty  of  preventing  the  spread  of  animal  dis- 
eases along  the  Mexican  border — Views  of  Secretary  Rusk — The  interests  of  the 
United  States  and  Mexico  mutual — Apparition  of  the  Behring  Sea  controversy — 
Blaine's  paper  of  January,  1S90,  to  Sir  Julian  Pauncefote — Nature  of  the  question 
between  our  Government  and  that  of  Great  Britain — Are  the  sealing  seas  open 
or  shut? — Danger  of  killing  seals  in  open  waters — Claim  of  the  United  States  to 
special  rights  in  the  seal  fisheries  of  Alaska — Russia  formerly  enjoyed  a  monopoly 



there— Such  right  transferred  to  the  United  States— Canadian  ships  invade  the  sealing 
waters— Danger  of  exterminating  the  seal— Analogy  of  the  sealing  and  cod  fisheries — 
The   two   cases   not   parallel— Blaine   deprecates   lawlessness   in   Behring  Sea— The 
United  States  will  give  and  take— Difficulty  of  maintaining  the  position  of  the  Amer- 
ican Secretary— Paper  of  May,    1890,   to  the  British  Government— Further  protest 
against  the  conduct  of  the  British  sealers — Minister  Phelps'  communication  on  the 
subject— Lord  Salisbury's  position — Negotiations  on  the  subject  in  London — Propo- 
sition for  a  seal  convention— Outline  of  the  arrangement— Hope  of  the  United  States 
that  the  difficulty  would  be  settled— An   order  of  Parliament   necessary— Further 
account  of  the  controversy — Second  paper  from  Minister  Phelps — Blaine  outlines  the 
things   necessary   for   a   settlement — Proposition   for   an   open   season   and   a  closed 
season — Necessity  of  protecting  the  rookeries — Great  Britain  charged  with  changing 
her  policy — Review  of  the  circumstances  which  led  to  the  difficulty — Blaine  vindi- 
cates his  abilities  as  a  diplomatist — His  paper  to  Pauncefote  of  December,  1890 — 
Meaning  of  the  northwest  coast  discussed — Views  of  Great  Britain  controverted — 
Bancroft's  map  of  the  disputed  land  and  seas — Provisions  of  the  treaty  between  the 
United  States  and  Russia — Contention  of  Lord  Salisbury — His  position  refuted — Proof 
from  authentic  map — What  was  the  sea  of  Kamschatka? — Difference  between  Behring 
Sea  and  the  Pacific  Ocean — Fur  companies  and  their  value — Further  citations  from 
Bancroft's  history  of  Alaska — History  of  the  fur  companies — Impolicy  of  opening  all 
ports  to  free  hunting — The  Russian- American  Company  in  particular — Former  freedom 
of  Behring  Sea  from  the  fur  hunter — The  Russian  title  to  those  waters  transferred  to 
the  United  States — The  historical  argument  on  the  question — The   United   States 
enjoyed    undisputed    rights   for   a   decade — Adams'    instructions   to   the    American 
Minister — The  United  States  must  maintain  her  claim  to  such  rights  as  were  pur- 
chased from  Russia — Middleton's  memorandum  to  Count  Nesselrode — Further  cita- 
tions from  the  same  author — Blaine   demonstrates  his  own  consistency — Refutation 
of  Salisbury's  argument — Further  historical  citations— Incipiency  of  the  fur  industry 
in  Behring  Sea — True  sense  of  the  Russo-American  treaty — Question  of  the  marine 
league  limit — True  method  of  preserving  the  seal  fisheries — What  may  rightfully  be 
done  by  the  contending  governments — The  Pribylov  Islands — Great  Britain's  propo- 
sition to  arbitrate — Reasons  for  declining  the  offer — America  will  arbitrate  on  certain 
conditions — What   they   are — The   American    Government    does    not   demand   that 
Behring  Sea  shall  be  mare  clausum — Voluminousness  of  Blame's  diplomatical  corre- 
spondence— His  papers  on  the  Halifax  award — Third  year  of  the  Harrison  adminis- 
tration— Rise  of  the  Italian  imbroglio — The  affair  at  New  Orleans — Attitude  of  the 
newspaper  press — Temperate  tone  of  Blaine's  correspondence  on  the  subject — Slow- 
ness of  the  American  Government  to  act — Blaine's  paper  of  March  15,  1891 — Desire 
of  the  United  States  to  deal  justly  with  Italy — Intemperance  of  Governor  Nicholls — 
Blaine's  second  official  note — He  replies  to  Humbert's  demand  for  reparation — Baron 
Fava  changes  his  language — Difficult  position  of  the  United  States — The  President 
cannot  give  assurance  in  advance — Discussion  of   Baron  Fava's  demands — Promise 
that  the  New  Orleans  tragedy  shall  be  investigated — Blaine's  dispatch  to  Imperiali — 
Demands  of  the  Marquis  Rudini — Public  opinion  in  Italy — Blaine  shows  the  impolicy 
of  Rudini' s  position — The  United  States  will  stand  by  her  treaties — Historical  prece- 
dents on  the  question — Webster  and  the   Spanish  claim  for  indemnity — Quotation 
from  Webster — The  right  of  judicial  remedy — Provisions  of  the  Louisiana  code  in 
cases  of  mob  violence — Difference  between  the  mob  of  1891  and  that  of  185 1 — The 
United  States  does  not  insure  the  lives  and  property  of  Italian  subjects — Nature  of 
the  treaty  stipulations  between  the  two  countries — Victims  of  the  mob — Constitutional 
weakness  of  our  system  in  such  cases — The  Chilian  complication — Blaine's  paper  of 
January,  1892 — Account  of  the  violence  done  to  American  rights  in  Valparaiso — The 



Government  will  insist  on  the  administration  of  justice — What  rules  should  charac- 
terize diplomacy  and  international  intercourse — Ministers  Moutt  and  Matta — Note  from 
the  latter — Imminence  of  war — The  danger  passes — Apology  from  the  Chilian  Gov- 
ernment— The  same  is  accepted  by  the  United  States — Resume  of  the  policies  and 
diplomatical  measures  of  Blaine — His  genius  was  that  of  action  and  contest,     .     .     .  363-440 



The  Greeks  Invent  the  Eulogy — Modern  eulogistic  methods — History  a  eulogy — 
Blaine's  address  on  Zachariah  Chandler — An  account  of  his  ancestry — His  rise  to 
eminence  in  Michigan — His  influence  in  forming  the  Republican  party — Governor 
of  Michigan — An  anti-slavery  agitator — Chandler  in  Congress — Condition  of  affairs 
on  his  entrance  into  the  Senate — He  becomes  a  leader — Comparison  with  his  col- 
leagues— A  national  character — His  career  in  the  Senate — Enlargement  of  his  fame — 
Minister  of  the  Interior  under  Grant — Chandler's  faults — Review  of  his  character — 
Tragedy  of  Garfield's  death — Burial  of  the  President — Blaine  chosen  his  eulogist — 
The  address — Garfield's  ancestry — Laws  of  descent  and  results  of  great  parentage — ■ 
The  childhood  and  youth  of  Garfield — What  Webster  said  of  himself — Garfield's 
frontier  life — His  honorable  independence — Early  struggles  and  formation  of  char- 
acter— Opportunities  of  education — Garfield  in  the  army — His  service  in  Eastern 
Kentucky — Success  of  his  campaign — Further  military  career — He  rises  to  official 
rank — Serves  under  Buell — Becomes  chief  of  staff  to  General  Rosecrans — Helps  to 
reorganize  the  army  of  the  Cumberland — His  preference  for  military  service — Is 
elected  to  the  House  of  Representatives — Accepts  the  place — Character  of  his  dis- 
trict— Hard  ordeal  of  the  House  of  Representatives — Youth  of  Garfield  on  entering 
the  arena — His  growth  to  influence — His  reservation  of  strength — His  long  and  suc- 
cessful career  as  Congressman — Garfield  as  a  lawyer — As  an  orator  and  debater — His 
genius  for  work — Rapidity  and  skill  of  his  employments — Not  a  great  parliamentary 
leader — Comparison  with  English  and  American  parliamentarians — Pre-eminence  of 
Clay — Illustrious  names  of  the  American  House — How  Garfield  differed  from  them — 
Industry  of  the  latter— His  speeches  and  policies— His  adherence  to  principles — 
Likeness  to  Lord  George  Bentinck — Garfield  is  nominated  and  elected  to  the  Presi- 
dency— His  self-possession — Danger  to  candidates  of  writing  and  speaking — Men 
prepare  their  own  defeat — Garfield's  seventy  speeches  of  1880— In  the  Presidency — 
The  annoyances  of  office — His  application  to  duty — His  Cabinet  meetings — His  effort 
to  restore  harmony  between  the  North  and  the  South — His  ambition  for  success— 
The  break  in  the  Republican  party— The  assassination— Religious  element  in  Gar- 
field's character— His  liberality— His  scientific  sympathies— Simplicity  of  his  faith- 
Tolerance— The  last  days  of  his  life— Breaking  of  household  ties— His  complacency 
at  the  end— Greatness  of  the  eulogy — Blaine's  memorial  address  on  General  Grant — 
Nature  of  hero-worship — Who  the  hero  is — The  monopoly  of  fame — The  immortality 
of  Grant — Basis  of  his  fame — Providence  over  human  affairs — Grant's  military 
supremacy  and  how  it  was  earned — Rare  qualities  of  the  man— Courage  for  the 
unexpected — Grant's  readiness  and  self-possession — I  l'Is  career  in  civil  office — The 
flag  of  truce — Summary  of  Blaine's  qualities  as  a  eulogist 44I_476 



Disappearance  of  the  Literary  Habit  from  Public  Life — Disadvantages  of  Con- 
gressmen in  the  matter  of  composition — Blaine's  pre-eminence  in  this  particular — His 
history  of  the  National  Congress— His  ability  to  deduce  the  true  historical  value  of 
events — His  skill  in  estimating  men's  lives — His  dispassion — His  ability  to  discuss 

xxii  CONTENTS. 


national  questions  and  depict  results — Limitations  of  his  work  subject  to  the  second 
volume — His  views  on  reconstruction  and  on  the  policy  of  Johnson — His  justice  to 
Garfield — Review  of  the  Johnsonian  vetoes  and  the  impeachment — The  work  illus- 
trates the  author's  capacities  as  a  man  of  letters — He  was  himself  a  part  of  his  book — 
He  contributes  to  "Columbus  and  Columbia"  his  thesis  on  "The  Progress  and 
Development  of  the  Western  World" — He  shows  the  conditions  prevalent  in  anti- 
quity— General  survey  of  the  marvels  of  ancient  times — The  omission  of  the  common 
man  from  Old  World  history — Gradual  emergence  of  the  individual — Men  gain 
freedom — Authority  is  held  to  account — The  trance  of  the  Dark  Ages — Man  revives 
and  democracy  is  triumphant — Invention  of  printing — Epoch  at  which  the  invention 
came — Nature  of  the  Renaissance — First  making  of  paper — Other  coincident  dis- 
coveries— Excellence  of  mediaeval  art — House  of  the  Medici — Intellectual  activity  in 
Florence — Pre-eminence  of  Lorenzo — His  patriotism  and  generosity — No  republic 
yet — Foreshadowings  of  a  higher  form  of  government — Example  of  the  Italian  free 
cities — The  old  order  changeth — Coming  of  Columbus — His  nativity  and  early  life — 
His  aspirations  and  ambitions — Tribute  to  his  name  and  memory — He  did  not  come 
by  chance — Europe  was  prepared  for  the  event  by  vicissitude  and  by  culture — Colum- 
bus was  the  principal  actor  in  a  great  drama — Swarms  of  discoverers — Partition  of  the 
New  World— Transfer  of  maritime  power — Spain  obtains  the  lead — France  and  the 
other  powers  follow  after — Early  plantage  in  America — Four  centuries  of  change  and 
development — Evolution  of  the  great  Republic — The  Old  World  had  failed  in  the 
experiment  of  government — Gold  cannot  buy  freedom — Our  war  of  independence — 
The  Republic  weak  at  first — The  cradle  and  early  nurture  of  Liberty — Comments  on 
Napoleon — Results  of  the  French  Revolution — Rise  of  the  people — Royalty  towards 
its  duty — Napoleon's  estimate  of  kings — He  failed  to  trust  the  people — The  restora- 
tion— The  Corsican's  comment  on  the  English  Government — Destruction  of-  the 
Divine  right— Europe  will  be  Cossack  or  Republican— Our  Government  in  its  first 
one  hundred  years — Incompatibility  of  freedom  and  slavery— All  nations  march 
towards  Liberty— The  great  leaders  looked  to  the  dawn— Bourbonism  only  a  shadow— 
"The  House  of  Braganca  has  ceased  to  reign  "—English  monarchy  no  more  than  a 
shadow— America  belongs  to  Americans— There  shall  be  liberty  and  the  pursuit  of 
happiness— Rejoicing  for  material  comfort  and  peace— The  world  but  the  abode  of 
spirit— The  scene  of  spiritual  activity— Our  country  must  be  pure  and  purified— 
Foreignisin  must  not  overwhelm  us— Pauperism  must  not  crush  us— Liberty  is  the 
first  law— America  is  for  the  living — Our  continent  is  for  humanity— America  uplifts 
the  individual— The  Republic  hails  man— The  brotherhood  of  humanity— A  corner- 
stone of  religion— None  shall  abuse  freedom— The  American  woman  shall  preserve 
her   fame   and  that  of  the  Republic— Blaine's  life  and  spirit  best  revealed  in  his 

writings, 477-504 

James  G.  Blaine Frontispiece. 

Blaine's  Birthplace 34 

Blaine's  Family  Group 37 

Scene  at  Valley  Forge 36 

Scene  in  Cumberland  Valley 38 

Washington  and  Jefferson  College 45 

Alexander  Hamilton 48 

The  Old  Blaine  Burying  Ground,  Augusta, 

Me 52 

Stanwood  Residence  at  Augusta 53 

Michael  M.  Williams 57 

Fac-simile  Letter  of  Resignation 59 

Kennebec  Journal  Building 64 

Blaine's  Editorial   Desk 67 

Fremont  on  the  Rockies 79 

View  of  Portland 82 

Blaine  at  twenty-eight 83 

Warfare  on  Kansas  Border 84 

John  Brown's  Fort  and  Harper's  Ferry....     85 

View  of  the  Capitol  at  Augusta,  Me 87 

Monitor  and  Blockade  Runner 92 

View  of  Augusta 95 

Attack  on  Fort  Sumter 96 

Charge  at  Gettysburg ...     97 

George  B.  McClellan 103 

Roscoe  Conkling 108 

Surrender  of  Lee 106 

James  G.  Blaine  in  the  Speakership 116 

A.  H.  Stephens 120 

Thomas  A.  Hendricks 121 

Blaine  Refuting  the  Mulligan  Letters 132 

General  Selden  Connor 138 

General  Grant's  Home  in  Galena 140 

Chester  A.  Arthur 142 

From  Canal  Boy  to  the  Presidency 143 

Blaine's  Washington  Home 144 

Chicago  Convention 145 

Striking  Incidents  in  Blaine's  Career 147 


Blaine's  Contest  for  the  Presidency 

John  A.  Logan 

Blaine  in  1884 

Benjamin  Harrison 

Bird's-eye  View  of  Washington 

The  State  Dining  Room — White  House... 
Mr.  Blaine  During  Pan-American  Congress, 

East  Room  Executive  Mansion 

Blue  Room — White  House 

Grover  Cleveland 

H.  W.  Knight 

Blaine  Writing  Paris  Letter 

Blaine's  Summer  Home  at  Bar  Harbor 

Homes  and  Birthplaces  of  Great  Americans, 

Steamer  City  of  New  York 

Thomas  B.  Reed,  of  Maine 

J.  W.  Foster,  Secretary  of  State 

Stephen  B.  Elkins,  Secretary  of  War 

Joseph  H.  Manley,  of  Maine 

Senator  W.  P.  Frye,  of  Maine 

Charles  Foster,  Secretary  of  Treasury 

John  W.  Noble,  Secretary  of  Interior 

Blaine's  Residence  at  Augusta,  Me 

The  South  Parish  Congregational  Church, 

Augusta,   Me 

State  Capitol,  Augusta,  Me 

Millard  Fillmore 

James  Buchanan 

Hannibal  Hamlin 

James  K.  Polk 

George  B.  McClellan 

Thaddeus  Stevens 

Wall  Street,  New  York 

General  Butler 

Salmon  P.  Chase 

William  P.  Fessenden 

Hugh  McCulloch 

Treasury  Building,  Washington,  D.  C 

149    I 

























State,  War  and  Navy  Departments'  Build- 
ing, Washington,  I).  C 

Panama  Canal  

Ferd.  de  Lesseps 

View  in  Colon— Terminus  Panama  Canal, 

Matachin  Excavator  at  Work 

James  Russell  Lowell 

I ,( >r<  1  Greenville 

Earl  of  Clarendon 

Lord  Napier 

Expulsion  of  Jews  from  Village  ofTedolsk, 

Chili-Peruvian  War — Defeat  of  Peruvians 
at  Tacna 

Chili-Peruvian  War — Chilians  Capturing 

General  Kilpatrick 

President  Calderon,  of  Peru 

President  Diaz,  of  Mexico 

Don  Matios  Romero,  Mexican  Minister.... 

Gen.  M.  L-  Barellas,  President  of  Guatemala, 

Sefior  Ignacio  Mariscai,  Mexican  Secre- 
tary of  State 

View  of  Guatemala 

M.  Herrara,  Guatemalan  Minister 

General  F.  Rufino  Barrios,  late  President 
of  Guatemala 

Hon.  J.W.  Foster,  U.  S.  Minister  to  Russia, 

V.  G.  Quisada,  Argentine  Minister  to  the 
Tinted  States 

Government  House  and  Post  Office, 
Buenos  Ayres,  Argentine  Republic. . . . 

M.  G.  Celman,  President  of  Argentine 

Hon.  F.  T.  Frelinghuysen,  ex-Secretary 
of  State 

Patent  Office,  Washington,  D.  C 

Blaine's  Samoan  Diplomacy 

Thomas  F.  Bayard,  ex-Secretary  of  State, 

Hon.  George  H.  Pendleton,  U.  S.  Minis- 
ter to  Berlin 

German  Gunboats  Shelling  the  Samoans 
at  Pago  Pago 

Whitelaw  Reid 

Importation  of  Contract  Labor  into  the 
United  States 

Hon.  C.  S.  Fairchild,  Secretary  of  the 

Hon.  J.  M.  Rusk,  Secretary  of  Agriculture, 

Cattle  Ranch  of  Texas  Border 

Norman  J.  Colman,  Commissioner  of 


















The  Capitol,  Washington,  D.  C 391 

United  States  Revenue  Cutter  "  Rush  "  in 

the  Bay  of  Sitka 393 

Aleutian  Islands,  Behring  Sea 397 

Marquis  of  Salisbury 399 

Hon.  E.  J.  Phelps,  United  States  Minister 

to  Great  Britain 401 

Natives  Spearing  a  Drive  of  Seals 403 

Interior  of  Hut  of  Well-to-do  Native 406 

Fort  Wrangell,   Alaska 409 

The  Seal  Fisheries  of  Alaska — Scenes  on 

the  Island  of  St.  Paul 417 

Naval  Battle  at  Sea 424 

Marquis  A.  di  Rudini,  Italian  Premier 425 

Governor  F.  T.  Nichols,  of  Louisiana 426 

Baron  Saveuo  Fava,  Italian  Minister 427 

Fac-simile  of  Rudini 's  Telegram 429 

The  Parish  Prison,  New  Orleans 432 

Victims  of  the  Mob,  New  Orleans 434 

U.  S.  Cruiser  "Baltimore" 436 

City  of  Valparaiso 437 

Hon.  Patrick  Egan,  U.  S.  Minister  to  Chili,  438 
Benjamin  Disraeli,  Earl  of  Beacousfield. . . .  439 

Zachariah   Chandler 442 

General  Cass 442 

Charles  Sumner 445 

James  A.  Garfield 448 

The  Pilgrim  Fathers 450 

Garfield's  Birthplace 451 

Garfield  on  the  Canal 452 

Garfield  Checking  Humphrey  Marshall's 

Advance 454 

General  Rosecrans 455 

General  Thomas 456 

Blaine  Reading  Messages  of  Sympathy  to 

Mrs.  Garfield 457 

Lawnfield — the  Home  of  President  Gar- 
field, at  Mentor 458 

Henry  Clay 460 

John  Quincy  Adams 462 

Horace  Greeley 463 

Garfield  at  Chicarnauga 465 

Assassination  of  Garfield 468 

Last  Look  at  the  Sea 469 

Grant's  Tomb  at  Riverside 471 

Grant's  Tomb  (interior) 472 

U.S.  Grant 473 

Blaine  and  Arthur  at  Garfield's  Casket....  475 
Distinguished    Union    Army   and    Navy 

Officers 481 

Distinguished  Confederate  Generals 487 

The  Last  Scenes 493 


VERY  age  has  produced  its  typical  men.  Every  country 
has  had  them  and  has  profited  by  them.  The  type- 
men  stand  higher  than  the  multitude.  They  are  to 
the  masses  what  the  composite  photograph  is  to  the 
many  faces  that  give  it  character.  The  philosophy 
of  the  photograph  is  this :  it  expresses  the  common 
and,  therefore,  the  perfected  humanity  of  all.  It  pre- 
sents the  average  humanity,  and  at  the  same  time  the 
highest.      He  who    has    given    close    attention    to    the 

character  of  the  composite  will  be  surprised  to  find  in  it  the 
existence  of  a//}  and  to  note,  what  is  much  more  important, 
namely,  the  sublimation  of  all  into  spirituality  and  beauty.  It 
is  possible  to  take  a  large  group  of  persons  and  to  transform 
their  faces  into  one,  so  that  that  one  shall  be  at  once  beautiful 
and  spiritual — suggesting  the  fine  faces  of  the  old  masters. 

It  is  thus  in  the   type-man  of  a  given    period.      He  is    its 
average  expression,  and  at  the  same  time  its  highest  expression. 
In  the  nature  of  the  case  he  must  be  one  of  many.     There  is 
a  cnrions  sentiment  of  Lavater,  that  the  proportion  of  genius 
to  the  vulgar    is    like    one    to  a   million ;    but    genius  without 
tyranny,  without    pretension,  that  genius  which    judges    the  weak   with    equity, 
the  superior  with  humanity,  and  equals  with  justice,  is  like  one  to  ten  millions! 
Certain  it  is  that  we  cannot   look  upon  a  really  great  man  without  advan- 
tage to  ourselves.     The  more  we  study  him  the  greater  will  be  our  profit  from 



observation  and  knowledge  of  his  methods,  deeds  and  thoughts.     For  us  the  man 
of  the  epoch  is  a  living  light-fountain,  which  it  is  good  and  pleasant  to  be  near; 


light  which  lightens  the  dark  places  of  the  world  and  the  gloom  of  human 
hearts  ;  and  this,  not  as  a  kindled  lamp  only,  but  rather  as  a  natural  luminary, 
shining  by  the  grace  of  the  spirit;  a  brilliant  source  of  native,  original  inspira- 
tion,  of   manhood,  and  heroism,  in  whose  radiance    all    minds    are    cheered  and 


In  the  world's  records  the  typical  men  are  not  too  plentiful.  The  history 
of  some  is  interleaved  with  the  annals  of  those  times  called  barbaric,  and  of  the 
dark  ages  back  of  barbarism ;  but  even  then  they  sowed  the  seeds  of  that 
civilization  which  has  fructified  and  flourished  in  the  liberal  enlightenment  of 
the  present  day. 

From  the  earliest  ages  of  human  history  the  type-men  have  appeared  here 
and  there.  They  have  come  according  to  the  demands  of  the  given  age.  Some- 
times they  have  appeared  in  the  midst  of  sorrows,  wars  and  pestilence.  Some- 
times they  have  come  as  the  redressers  of  wrong.  In  one  age  the  type-man  is 
Alexander  or  Socrates.  Sometimes  the  type-man  is  a  conqueror,  and  sometimes 
a  martyr  for  truth.  Sometimes  he  lives  and  flourishes,  and  anon  he  dies.  In 
all  cases  his  life  enters  into  the  life  of  the  epoch  and  is  transmitted  to  after  ages. 

Far  back  in  the  centuries  the  type-men  appear  as  the  topmost  points  of  light 
in  the  landscape  of  the  world.  In  such  ages  the  deeds  and  lives  of  the  type- 
men  are  substantially  the  history  of  the  times  in  which  they  live.  What  they 
accomplished  becomes  the  most  instructive  part  of  human  annals.  How  much 
interest,  for  example,  would  the  history  of  the  eighth  century  possess  for  the 
reader  of  to-day  were  the  achievements  of  Charlemagne  omitted  ?  He  it  was 
whose  master-mind  laid  the  first  solid  foundation  for  a  permanent  system  of 
government  and  institutions  in  an  age  of  doubt  and  darkness.  He  was  the 
author  of  many  of  the  best  laws  of  mediaeval  Europe.  He  was  the  promoter 
of  the  best  elements  of  civilization.  Succeeding  to  an  empire  torn  by  intestine 
feuds,  he  checked  its  turbulence  with  vigor  and  address ;  compelled  the  recog- 
nition of  national  law ;  inspired  the  wide  circuit  of  Europe  with  a  common 
interest  and  common  objects,  and  led  men  to  pursue  these  interests  and  to 
maintain  these  objects  with  collective  counsel  as  well  as  with  united  efforts. 

This  great  Middle-Age  type-man  founded  the  original  of  all  royal  societies 
and  academies,  and  was  the  first  to  combine  in  one  military  monarchy  a  feudal 
nobility,  a  somewhat  free  commons  and  a  kind  of  constitutional  assembly  of 
States.  He  may  be  regarded  as  the  father  of  the  modern  State  system  of  Europe. 
He  has  claims,  which  are  universally  acknowledged,  to  the  regard  and  venera- 
tion of  the  ages  which  have  benefited  from  his  doings  and  his  life.     The  world 


dates  a  new  era  from  his  wise  and  beneficent  reign.  Insensibly  it  may  be,  but 
surely,  his  spirit  pervades  the  thoughts  and  polities  of  all  modern  nations, 
teaching  them,  by  precept  and  example  which  cannot  be  too  highly  esteemed, 
how  best  to  pursue  the  gradual  paths  of   an  aspiring  change. 

It  were  possible  to  select  example  after  example  of  the  typical  life  among 
the  various  peoples  who  have  risen  and  flourished  in  Western  Europe.  France, 
Germany,  England,  Italy  have  abounded  in  characters  of  this  kind.  From  the 
day  of  Godfrey  to  the  day  of  Count  Cavour ;  from  Richelieu  to  Gambetta ;  from 
Cromwell  to  Wellington  ;  from  Barbarossa  to  Bismarck,  we  find  such  characters 
standing  here  and  there,  lifted  somewhat  above  their  age,  but  expressing  its 
common  hope  as  well  as  its  loftiest  purpose. 

In  like  manner  the  history  of  our  own  country  has  been  adorned  with  the 
names  of  type-men  as  great  as  the  greatest.  The  student  of  American  annals 
need  not  seek  far  to  find  such  names  and  to  share  the  common  glory  which 
they  have  diffused  in  the  Western  Hemisphere,  and  indeed  throughout  the 
world.  It  was  our  good  fortune  to  begin  our  active  governmental  life  as  a 
people  under  the  influence  and  guidance  of  one  such  a  man.  Washington  was 
in  every  sense  the  expression  of  the  common  hope  of  our  colonial  Americans, 
and  at  the  same  time  the  expression  of  the  highest  honor,  loyalty  and  patriot- 
ism of  that  period  in  history.  He  was  a  man  whose  judgment  was  ripened  by 
the  most  arduous  experience  in  the  struggle  for  his  country's  independence ; 
whose  intelligence  was  comprehensive  and  admirably  adapted  to  the  exigencies 
of  his  administration.  Every  word  of  high  encomium  yet  applied  to  man  belongs 
to  him ;  for  in  his  eyes  duty  was  the  law  of  correct  life ;  duty,  the  upholding 
principle  through  which  the  weakest  become  strong ;  without  which  all  strength 
is  unstable  as  water. 

Washington  believed  that  the  conviction  of  duty  implies  the  soundest  reason, 
the  strongest  obligation  of  which  our  nature  is  susceptible,  and  while  "  he  stood 
firm  before  the  thunder,  he  yet  worshiped  the  still,  small  voice."  Duty  he 
regarded  as  the  prompting  of  conscience.  Washington  was  a  conscientious 
man ;  and  his  intelligence  directed  conceptions  of  duty  to  heroic  deeds.  An 
auspicious  occasion  assisted  him ;  but  any  occasion  for  the  exercise  of  heroism 
would  have  proved  equally  auspicious.  Patriotism,  nobility  and  soldiership  are 
all  synonyms  of  duty,  and  these  qualities  culminated  in  his  life.  He  was  the 
man  of  the  eighteenth  century,  as  was  Charlemagne  of  the  eighth — not  so  much 
by  force  of  his  genius  as  by  his  purity  and  trustworthiness.  He  was  faithful 
in  small  things  as  well  as  in  great.  Every  talent  conferred  upon  him  was  put 
to  the  best  possible  use.  He  followed  the  dictates  of  conscience  whatever  way 
they  led.     "  Honest,  truthful,  diligent,"  were  the  catch-words  of  his  creed.     His 



best  products,  as  are  those  of  all  deliberate  men,  were  happy  and  sanctifying 
thoughts,  which,  when  once  formed  and  put  into  practice,  are  capable  of  extending 
their  fertilizing  influence  from  generation  to  generation  for  thousands  of  years. 

The  life  of  Washington  has  been  so  often  written  that  it  is  unnecessary 
in  this  place  to  refer  to  it  further  than  to  point  out  the  thorough  conscien- 
tiousness, the  self-sacrificing  spirit,  the  purity  of  motive  with  which  he  entered 
upon  and  carried  to  completion  the  liberation  and  independence  of  his  country. 
No  man  could  be  more  pure,  no  man  more  self-denying.  In  victory  he  was 
self-controlled  ;  in  defeat,  unshaken.  Throughout  he  was  magnanimous  and  pure. 
In  his  life  it  is  difficult  to  learn  which  to  admire  most  ardently,  the  nobility 
of  his  character,  the  firmness  of  his  patriotism,  or  the  purity  of  his  conduct ; 
but  the  combination  made  him  a  man  of  divine  temper,  and  "  take  him  for  all 
in  all,"  it  is  not  to  be  expected  that  we  shall  look  upon  his  like  again. 

The  intermediate  period  in  our  country's  history  is  not  wanting  in  men 
worthy  to  be  the  successors  of  the  great  archetypes  of  the  revolutionary  age. 
It  would  appear  that  statesmanship  in  America  at  length  succeeded  to  the  sword. 
The  violence  of  our  first  age  was  succeeded  by  the  intellectual  contests  of  the 
second  period.  The  first  age  had  been  the  age  of  the  making  of  the  constitu- 
tion. The  second  age  was  the  period  of  the  interpretation  and  application  of 
the  constitution.  It  was  an  age  of  adjustments  and  adaptations.  The  institu- 
tions of  the  coirntry  had  been  formed  theoretically  in  expectation  of  national 
wants  and  conditions.  At  length  the  genius  of  America  arose  and  must  be 
fitted  to  the  work  of  the  fathers.  That  work  had  to  be  interpreted  for  the 
American  mind,  and  adjusted  to  the  facts  which  had  arisen  spontaneously  in 
the  second  quarter  of  our  century. 

The  interpreters  were  the  type-men  of  that  age.  They  were  great  in  their 
kind.  The  fame  of  Webster  and  Clay,  of  Calhoun  and  Benton  was  well  earned 
in  the  contentions  of  a  great  arena.  They  were  the  successors  of  Hamilton  and 
Marshall.  They  filled  up  a  large  part  of  the  public  histories  of  our  country 
for  a  considerable  section  of  time.  They  shone  with  peculiar  lustre  through  all 
the  domains  of  the  expanding  Republic,  and  were  seen  from  remote  distance 
across  the  seas.  Already  the  American  name  had  been  recognized  for  a  half 
century  or  more  in  the  highest  circles  of  European  thought  and  purpose. 
Franklin  had  made  us  great,  not  only  in  France,  but  throughout  Western 

Just  as  the  type-men  of  the  fourth  and  fifth  decades  took  the  character  of  pub- 
licists, jurists  and  orators — turning  as  it  were  the  reverse  civil  side  of  American 
life  to  the  obverse  side  of  war — so  the  obverse  side  came  again  with  the  epoch 
of  disunion.      Then    arose  a  new  class  of  statesmen  and  public    men.      Just  as 


the  old  style  of  literary  production  had  given  place  to  new  creative  methods, 
conforming  more  strictly  to  the  American  genius,  and  less  assimilated  to  British 
models,  so  a  new  type  of  men  arose,  strictly  American,  great  in  stature,  patri- 
otic and  powerful. 

Of  this  kind  was  the  immortal  Lincoln.  His  greatness,  both  intellectual 
and  moral,  was  as  gigantic  as  it  was  inexplicable. 

"E'en  to  the  dullest  peasant  standing  by, 
Who  fasten' d  still  on  him  a  wondering  eye, 
He  seemed  the  master-spirit  of  the  land." 

He  was  incomparable,  and  his  character  and  achievements  more  difficult  of 
analysis  than  those  of  any  American  in  history.  The  great  charms  of  the  man 
were  his  honesty,  geniality  and  faithfulness,  and  these  will  always  remain  the 
pre-eminent  charms  of  our  poor  humanity.  But  we  must  not  forget  that  Lincoln 
encountered  obstacles,  assumed  duties,  and  cast  out  impediments  which  were 
entirely  unknown  to  American  citizenship  previous  to  his  time.  Difficulties  and 
calamities  sharpened  his  apprehension,  and  called  into  activity  all  the  faculties 
of  his  powerful  intellect.  His  mind  was  brightest  in  disaster — most  alert  under 

It  has  been  said  that  Madame  de  Maintenon  would  never  have  approached 
a  throne  had  not  her  cradle  been  rocked  in  a  prison.  So  with  hundreds  who  have 
risen  to  greatness.  There  was  needed  something  in  their  path  before  they  could 
rise  to  the  gaze  of  the  world.  Difficulties  are  a  mere  stimulus  to  men  like 
Lincoln,  supplying  the  discipline  which  greatly  assists  their  onward  and 
upward  course.  He,  like  thousands  of  great  men  before  him,  was  a  disciple  of 
Plato,  but,  perhaps,  unconsciously  so ;  at  any  rate  he  followed  the  advice  of  that 
wonderful  philosopher,  "  Let  men  of  all  ranks,  whether  they  are  successful  or 
unsuccessful,  rest  satisfied." 

But  the  qualities  of  Lincoln  most  difficult  of  analysis  were  those  which 
compelled  the  admiration  and  respect  of  the  civilized  world  ;  which  conquered 
the  prejudices  of  political  opponents,  and  commanded  the  love  of  all  who  knew 
him  personally.  Said  a  Virginian  who  had  called  upon  him  at  the  prompting 
of  idle  curiosity :  "  I  believe  he  is  the  greatest  man  in  the  world.  When  I 
went  there  I  expected  to  find  a  fellow  to  make  fun  of;  but  I  am  the  one  to 
laugh  at !  He  knows  more  about  my  State  than  I  do,  and  I  was  born  in  '  Old 
Virginia,'  and  thought  I  knew  all  about  her." 

The  incident  appears  simple  in  the  reading,  but  it  illustrates  the  power  of 
Lincoln  over  every  mind  with  which  he  came  in  contact.  And  this  is  the 
power    no    one    has  yet    attempted  to  analyze,  although    some    observers  call    it 



"  personal  magnetism,"  and  seem  content  to  pass  it  without  attempting  explana- 
tion. It  was  possessed  in  a  large  degree  by  Henry  Clay,  and  attracted  the  people 
toward  him  like  the  obedient  steel  which  turns  forever  to  the  pole.  Garfield 
had  the  same  power  in  a  degree  which  remains  a  wonder  to  his  friends  ;  and 
Blaine  was  endowed  with  it  almost  *  beyond  precedent  or  example.  It  is 
the  magnetism — if  that  is  the  proper  term — of  intellectual  supremacy;  the 
regality  of  mind  which  is  apparent  to  the  world,  but  of  which  the  possessor 
is  unconscious;  which  cannot  result  from  instruction,  but  is  self-born  and 
springs  up  in  the  midst  of  disadvantages.  It  works  its  solitary  but  irresistible 
way  'through  all  obstacles,  while  nature  seems  to  delight  in  disappointing  the 
assiduities  with  which  art  seeks  to  convert  dullness  to  brilliancy. 

Nature  scatters  the  seeds  of  genius  to  the  winds ;  and  though  some  may 
perish  among  the  stony  places  of  the  world,  and  some  may  be  choked  by  the 
thorns  and  brambles  of  early  adversit}',  yet  others  will  now  and  then  strike 
root  even  in  the  clefts  of  the  rock,  struggle  bravely  up  into  the  sunshine,  and 
spread  over  their  sterile  birthplace  all  the  beauties  of  vegetation.  Although 
genius  may  be  conscious  of  its  advantages  in  minds  like  those  referred  to,  it 
is  rarely  aware  of  its  superiority  to  associate  minds ;  its  achievements  which  others 
celebrate  are  frequently  but  its  ordinary  performances. 

One  of  the  highest  forms  of  human  force  is  that  which  combines  military 
genius  with  statesmanship.  It  is  as  it  were  the  union  of  physical  agencies 
with  thought — the  combination  of  body  and  spirit.  This  form  of  force  was 
exemplified  in  many  of  our  type-men  in  the  epoch  under  consideration.  A  few 
were  statesmen  pure  and  simple.  A  still  larger  number  were  military  leaders 
quite  innocent  of  civic  abilities.  But  many  have  the  combination  of  both 
powers.  Such  men  are  at  once  the  glory  and  the  menace  of  their  country. 
When  history  presents  a  character  combining  in  itself  the  genius  of  the  military 
captain  with  the  genius  of  statesmanship,  and  the  union  is  inflamed  with  ambi- 
tion, the  resultant  personage  is  likely  to  be  the  pride  and  the  danger  of  his  age. 
This  is  true  in  particular  of  democracies  and  republics.  Fortunately,  however, 
if  the  republic  be  one  of  intelligence  and  virtue,  if  it  be  dominated  by  the 
aristocracy  of  patriotism,  the  danger  from  such  source  is  reduced  to  a  minimum. 
Many  of  our  statesmen  of  the  civil  war  period  might  have  been  successful 
generals  in  the  field.  Some  successful  generals  showed  themselves  to  be  also 
men  of  the  cabinet.  Not  a  few  had  great  ambitions ;  but  it  does  not  appear 
that  a  single  one  had  the  ambition  or  desire — to  say  nothing  of  the  power — 
to  subvert  his  country. 

It  was  in  this  great  group  of  type-men  that  James  G.  Blaine  made  his 
appearance.     He  came  in  the  guise  of  a  statesman.     He  appeared  as  a  type  of 


the  American  statesman's  life  and  character.  We  shall  have  occasion  in  another 
part  to  dwell  upon  the  fact  that  Blaine  was  distinctively  a  man  of  civil  propen- 
sities. We  call  such  a  civilian,  to  distinguish  him  from  the  military  leader. 
It  is  clear  that  Blaine  did  not  possess  military  talents ;  or  if  he  possessed  any 
gift  in  that  direction,  it  was  not  couspicuous.  His  was  the  genius  for  civil 
affairs.  He  had  the  instincts  and  biases  of  the  political  and  popular  leader. 
He  was  the  type-man  of  the  hustings  and  the  House. 

Let  us  dwell  upon  and  emphasize  this  truth  as  it  is  fundamental  to  the 
consideration  of  Blaine's  character  and  worth.  It  is  well  to  begin  a  biography 
with  the  discovery  and  exposition  of  the  dominant  fact  in  the  life  of  the 
personage  under  consideration.  A  man's  life  begins  with  his  spirit,  his  purpose, 
his  passion  rather  than  with  his  birth.  We  should  seize,  first  of  all,  the  leading 
trait  of  the  man,  and  allow  all  the  rest  to  form  itself  around  this  central  nerve 
of  will  and  personality.  Blaine  was  a  civilian — a  great  civilian.  That  is  the 
key  to  his  character  and  work.  He  was  a  man  of  civil  affairs.  For  this 
work  he  had  a  genius  and  passion.  This  element  of  action  and  desire 
expressed  itself  in  the  first  movements  of  his  youthful  career  and  continued  to 
inspire  him  until,  in  his  last  days,  he  saw  the  lingering  sunset  reflected  from 
the  dome  of  the  Capitol. 

Not  only  is  this  the  fundamental  characteristic  of  Blaine's  personality  and 
place  in  history,  but  it  is  the  essential  of  the  type  which  he  represents. 
American  life  is  largely — perhaps  too  largely — civil  and  political.  It  were  well 
if  the  political  passion  were  not  so  strong  upon  us.  But  it  remains  true  that 
our  sixty-five  millions  sway  and  bend  and  fluctuate  under  the  passions  and 
motions  of  the  political  life.  It  is  thus  not  far  from  true  to  regard  the 
politician  as  the  typical  American. 

If  thus  much  be  conceded,  then  James  G.  Blaine  may  almost  be  regarded 
as  the  highest  type  of  American  citizen  and  leader.  This  is  to  say,  that  he 
has  expressed  in  his  life  and  activities  a  larger  part  of  the  common  life  and  the 
common  activities  of  his  countrymen  than  almost  any  other.  Mark  the  single- 
ness of  his  career.  Though  that  career  has  been  multifarious,  though  it  has 
ruu  deviously,  it  has  nevertheless  been  as  single  as  it  is  singular.  Blaine 
would  be  a  great  statesman.  He  would  rise  to  the  rank  of  first  statesman  of 
the  age.  However  much  his  ship  may  have  been  tossed  on  stormy  seas,  how- 
ever much  the  skies  may  at  times  have  been  draped  with  thick  and  impene- 
trable clouds,  he  nevertheless  kept  ever  his  eye  to  the  North  Star,  or  to  that 
part  of  his   heavens  where  he  thought  the  North  Star  was  hidden. 

We  thus  find  in  the  great  type-character  of  which  we  are  to  speak  in  the 
following    pages  a  singular    unity    as    well    as    persistency  of  purpose.      Let  us 



premise  that  Blaine  for  the  present  hour  is  suffering  as  much  from  the  hurt, 
and  obscurations  of  contemporaneity  as  he  is  glorified  by  the  current  sympa- 
thies and  admiration  of  his  countrymen.  We  may  not  as  yet  discover  precisely 
how  he  will  be  revealed  to  the  men  of  the  next  age.  He  may  be  exalted,  and 
he  may  suffer  loss.  Clay  and  Webster  died  forty  years  ago.  Their  respective 
statures  have  been  revealed  since  their  going.  True,  they  had  the  admiration 
of  their  contemporaries  when  they  passed  away ;  but  the  true  estimate  has  come 

So  it  will  be  with  Blaine.  Nearness  for  the  present  hour  blurs  the  vision. 
There  is  spherical  and  chromatic  aberration — optical  illusions  not  a  few — as  we 
turn  our  vision  to  the  life  and  work  of  this  remarkable  personage.  Only  a 
few  tilings  are  clear  and  distinct.  One  is,  that  he  held  a  large  share  of  the 
interest  and  admiration  of  his  countrymen  for  more  than  a  score  of  years. 
Another  is,  that  he  will,  in  a  larger  or  lesser  measure,  be  regarded  hereafter 
as  one  of  the  principal  type-men  of  the  greatest  epoch  which  has  thus  far  arisen 
in  American  history.  From  this  point  of  view  we  desire  to  narrate  his  life  and 
work.  Not  without  both  interest  and  esteem  for  the  man  and  his  great  part  in 
the  public  events  of  the  last  quarter  of  a  century  do  we  enter  upon  the  task 
of  recording  as  much  as  may  at  present  be  gleaned  respecting  his  personal  life 
and  his  conspicuous  and  dramatic  action  in  the  arena  of  our  nationality. 



^HE  birth-place  of  a  man  is  perhaps    less  important  than  is 

usually  supposed  in  biography.  The  particular  spot  where 
the  man  begins  his  career  is  hardly  res  gesta  of  the 
case.  He  may  be  born  here  or  there ;  the  circumstance 
has  interest,  but  is  hardly  essential  to  the  understanding 
of  the  given  career.  It  is  not  the  locality,  but  the  descent 
which    determines    the    initial    and,  to  a  large    degree,  the 

pXs    future  powers  of   the  life  in  question. 

This  is  to  say,  that  we  need  not  greatly  concern  ourselves 
to  know  that  Washington  began  in  Westmoreland  or  in  some 
other  county ;  that  Lincoln  was  out  of  Larue  or  Hardin ;  that 
Gr,ant  began  at  Point  Pleasant  or  in  some  hamlet  or  cabin  away 
from  the  river.  None  the  less,  the  reader  seeks  to  know  the 
initial  point  and  fixes  his  attention  upon  it  as  the  meritorious 
spot  from  which   some  form  of  greatness  has  sprung. 

We  may  reflect  further  that  the  connection  between  a  man 
and  his  birth-place — between  the  interest  of  the  one  and  the 
importance  of  the  other— has  been  somewhat  reversed  in  history. 
It  is  not  the  spot  of  birth  that  makes  great  the  man,  but  the  man 
who  at  length  makes  great  the  spot  of  his  birth.  Not  Corsica 
made  Napoleon;  not  Boston,  Franklin.  It  was  the  "Child  of 
the  Republic"  who  made  famous  forever  the  island  of  his  birth;  and  Franklin, 
though  a  candlemau's  son,  sent  backward  from  the  glory  of  the  French  capital 
to  the  city  of  his  nativity  the  radiance  of  his  fame.  We  repeat  that  not  the 
place  but  the  descent — the  blood  and  spirit  of  an  ancestry  worthy  to  survive — 
makes  the  being  that  is  to  be  what  he  is  and  will  be.  This  is  not  fatalism, 
but  simply  a  just  allowance  for  those  influences  of  descent  which  enter  so 
largely  into  the  calculus  of  human  life. 

James  Gillespie  Blaine  had  for  his  birth-place  the  hamlet  of  Brownsville, 
in  Union  township,  Washington  County,  Pa.  His  birthday  was  the  thirty-first 
of  January,  1830.  Four  days  before  the  night  on  which  he  was  born  Daniel 
Webster  had  finished  in  the  Senate  of  the  United  States  his  Reply  to  Hayne 
— the  greatest  oratorical  production  of  the  American  mind.  Perhaps  the  rumor 
of  it — for  the  fame  of  the  event  was  great  in  those  days — was  borne  to  Browns- 
ville, and  the  father,  an  intelligent  man,  may  have  read  the  first  report  of  the 
3  (33) 



great    vindication    of  nationality,  by    the    lamplight,  on    the    evening    that    his 
illustrious  son  came  into  the  world. 

The  epoch  was  a  stirring  one  as  it  respected  American  statesmanship.  The 
War  of  the  Revolution  had  been  fought  and  won.  The  second  conflict  with 
the  mother  country,  which  Franklin  had  foretolcf  as  the  War  of  Independence, 
had  at  last  been  brought  to  a  close,  fifteen  years  before  the  birth  of  Blaine. 
American  thought  had  turned  from  the  excitements  and  passions  of  the  Era 
of  Revolution  to  questions  of  constitutional  government  and  to  the  adjustment 
of  law  to  the  vindicated  rights  of  man. 

The  memory  of  strife  was  now  lapsing  into  shadow  in  the  New  World  and 
the  Old.  Men  on  this  side  of  the  sea  spoke  of  the  battle  of  New  Orleans  and 
of  the  Treaty  of  Ghent  as  we  now  speak  of  the  Chicago  fire  or  the  Centennial 
Exposition.  Abroad  there  was  the  same 
falling  away  of  great  memories.  The 
Corsican  had  been  for  six  years  lying 
in  the  earth  at  Longwood.  For  a  like 
time  the  fat  and  redundant  Louis  XVIII. 
had  been  gone,  by  an  obese  and  useless 
exit,  from  the  mortal  scene ;  and  now 
the  equally  superfluous  Charles  X.  is 
blown  awa}^  into  nonentit}^.  In  Eng- 
land, also,  dynastic  evolution  is  going  on 
clumsily.  Gentleman  George  —  worst 
misnamed  of  mortals — goes  away,  and 
the  intercalary  William  IV.  comes  in  in 
the  same  year  with  the  birth  of  Blaine. 
For  the  beginning  of  the  Victorian  era 
we  shall  yet  have  to  wait  seven  years 
before  it  comes. 

The  ancestors  and  descent  of  Blaine 
are  worthy  of  note.  The  family,  on  the  paternal  side,  seems  to  have  been 
of  remote  Anglo-Norman  extraction  ;  the  name  would  indicate  as  much.  The 
great-grandfather,  Ephraim  Blaine,  was  an  officer  in  the  Revolutionary  War. 
He  rose  to  the  rank  of  colonel,  and  served  as  commissary-general  under 
Washington  during  that  winter  of  untold  hardships  when  Valley  Forge  became 
the  synonym  of  sorrow.  It  appears  that  while  the  army  was  encamped  at  the 
place  just  named,  Colonel  Blaine  distinguished  himself  for  indefatigable  exer- 
tions in  the  almost  hopeless  effort  to  supply  the  patriots  with  the  means  of 
subsistence  and  comfort.  In  that  wrork  he  consumed  a  large  part  of  his  own 
fortune.  If  we  are  to  look  for  an  ancestral  impress,  directing  the  thought  and 
purpose  of  a  descendant  to  patriotic  nationality,  we  might  find  it  in  the  devo- 
tion of  Colonel  Ephraim  Blaine  to  the  cause  of  his  country  and  his  countrymen 
in  the  cruel  winter  of  1777-78. 





The  Blaine  family  was  aforetime  of  good  New  England  stock.  It  had  been 
a  long  time  in  the  country  and  had  contracted  both  the  merits  and  demerits 
of  the  colonial  character.  The  grandson  of  Ephraim  Blaine  was  Ephraim 
L.  Blaine.  He,  too.  was  a  man  of  character  and  force.  He  was  a  leader  in  the 
affairs  of  his  county,  a  magistrate  of  great  influence,  and  exemplified  in  his 
life  and  activities  the  virtues  of  the  new  American  development.       His  reputa- 


tion  has  been  transmitted  as  that  of  a  liberal  and  hospitable  gentleman,  full  of 
the  genial  sociability  which  was  destined  to  be  so  strongly  developed  in  his 
eldest  son.  The  home  of  Ephraim  L.  Blaine  in  the  Cumberland  Valley  was  a 
point  of  attraction  in  the  neighborhood.  It  was  regarded  as  an  intellectual 
centre  as  well  as  a  place  of  refinement,  good  manners  and  literary  spirit. 

The  branch  of  the  Blaine  family  with  which  we  have  to  do  in  this  nar- 
rative removed  to  western  Pennsvlvania,  and  established  itself  in  Washington 
County,  where,  as  we  have  seen,  James  G.  Blaine  was  born.       It  appears  that 









the  elder  Blaine,  that  is,  Ephraim  L.,  was  one  of  those  unfortunates  in  whom 
generosity  contends  with  what  the  world  calls  "  business  sense  "  for  the  mastery  ; 
and  worse  still — according  to  our  standards — the  generosity  prevailed.  His 
habit  of  good  deeds   and  much  giving  sapped  his  moderate  means,  and  it  is  not 


improbable  that  he  sought  to  repair  his  fortunes  by  establishing  himself  in  a 
more  quiet  part  of  the  Quaker  Commonwealth.  There  he  has  left  behind  him 
among  old  friends  and  neighbors,  some  of  whom  still  survive,  the  tradition  of 
a   life    and    character    in    which    singular    integrity  and    simple    manners    are 


celebrated  with  the  fondness  which  the  children  have  for  the  memory  of  the 
older  men  of  the  community. 

Let  us  not  forget  the  mother.  Her  maiden  name  was  Maria  Gillespie. 
She  was  of  Scotch-Irish  parentage  ;  daughter  of  a  Catholic  family  that  had 
established  itself  in  the  Cumberland  Valley.  There  Ephraim  Blaine  found  her, 
and,  notwithstanding  the  break  between  his  own  Presbyterianism  and  her 
Catholicism,  took  her  in  marriage.  It  would  appear  that  there  was  an  agree- 
ment between  them  of  mutual  toleration  on  the  religious  question.  At  any  rate, 
the  difference  in  .faiths  seems  never  to  have  distressed  the  family,  though  it  was 
well  calculated  to  do  so.  It  may  be  agreed  that  the  union  was,  religiously 
considered,  of  a  kind  to  introduce  cross-currents  in  the  domestic  estate,  and 
more  particularly  in  the  descendants  of  the  marriage.  How  subtle  and  profound 
are  the  elements  of  which  human  life  and  character  are  compounded ! 

Maria  Gillespie,  mother  of  our  statesman,  bore  the  reputation  of  great  intel- 
ligence, commanding  beauty  and  quick  observation.  To  these  she  added  other 
sterling  qualities  of  head  and  heart.  Without  doubt  it  is  to  her  that  James  G. 
Blaine  is  most  indebted  for  his  native  powers,  as  also  for  the  early  training 
which  laid  in  his  intellectual  and  moral  nature  the  foundations  of  his  pre- 
eminence among  his  countrymen.  It  is  always  so.  The  moral  and  psycho- 
logical formulse  under  which  we  begin  our  lives  are  obscure  enough,  but  it 
remains  that  the  genius  of  each  son  of  man  is  transmitted  from  his  mother. 
It  is  the  glory'  of  her  estate  to  build  up  the  glory  of  the  world  by  contributing 
to  it  a  light  and  splendor  of  which  mere  fatherhood  is  incapable ! 

The  home  of  Blaine's  father  continued  to  be  in  the  Cumberland  Valley, 
where  his  ancestors  had  lived,  until  the  year  1S18,  when,  as  we  have  said,  he 
removed  to  Washington  Count}',  which  might  then  be  regarded  as  in  that  indefinite 
place  called  the  West.  In  that  year  Illinois  was  admitted  into  the  Union  ;  two 
years  previously,  Indiana ;  one  year  afterwards,  Alabama.  We  were  spreading 
out  territorially  towards  the  Father  of  Waters  and  the  mountains.  In  two  years 
the  question  of  Maine  and  Missouri  will  be  on.  The  issue  of  American  slavery 
will  thrust  itself  into  the  arena,  and  the  great  forces  will  begin  to  be  adjusted 
which,  after  the  lapse  of  forty  years,  shall  unmake  the  Union,  but  make  it 
again  more  glorious  than  before. 

The  Blaine  family  had  been  well-to-do  in  worldly  resources.  Ephraim  L. 
Blaine  had  a  considerable  fortune,  existing  mostly  in  large  possessions  of  wild 
lands  in  Western  Pennsylvania.  At  that  epoch  such  possessions  were  of  com- 
paratively small  value.  The  country  was  broken,  and  the  enormous  resources 
in  iron  and  coal  had  hardly  been  discovered,  to  say  nothing  of  development. 
It  would  appear  that  the  father  of  the  statesman  had  diminished  his  properties 
before  his  removal  to  Washington  County,  and  that  he  had  difficulty  in  the 
latter  place  in  creating  an  estate.  He  was  not  a  man  of  large  or  read}'  means, 
and  a  growing  family  put  him  in  worse  and  still  worse  condition  as  it  respected 
money  and  property. 


Perhaps  the  training  of  the  elder  Blaine  was  not  favorable  to  great  busi- 
ness success.  His  education,  which  was  liberal,  had  looked  to  the  law.  In  his 
earlier  years  he  had  improved  his  information  and  faculties  by  traveling  in 
Europe  and  in  South  America.  It  is  possible  that  this  discipline,  while  it  had 
improved  the  man,  had  not  developed  business  capacity.  In  Western  Pennsyl- 
vania he  was  a  farmer  and  a  man  of  business  affairs  in  the  smaller  sense,  and 
also  a  notary  and  county  clerk. 

It  appears  that  the  home  of  Ephraim  L.  Blaine,  at  Brownsville,  was  above 
the  average  in  comfort  and  intellectual  attraction.  The  surviving  neighbors 
have  given  this  reputation  to  the  family.  The  Blaines,  while  not  especially  well- 
to-do,  were  liberal  and  enlightened  folks,  and  had  enough.  The  head  of  the 
family  was  a  man  who  applied  himself  industriously  to  his  tasks,  but,  if  we 
mistake  not,  his  mind  ran  to  intellectual  pursuits  more  than  to  such  vocations 
as  the  frontier  afforded.  It  seems  that  there  was  intellectual  sympathy  between 
the  father  and  mother  of  James  G.  Blaine.  The  father  was  not  superior  in  ability 
or  spirit  to  the  wife,  but  had  much  larger  attainments  in  scholarship.  Both 
have  been  dead  for  years.  Their  graves  are  in  the  churchyard  at  Brownsville, 
near  the  ancestral  home  of  the  statesman.  To  them,  after  his  rise  to  influence 
and  reputation,  he  erected  the  monument  which  now  marks  their  resting  place. 

We  here  touch  the  boyhood  development  of  James  G.  Blaine.  As  we  have 
said  above,  the  youth  of  all  men  is  alike  barren  of  annals.  For  a  period  of 
perhaps  ten  years — most  important  though  it  be — the  youth  goes  on  his  way, 
leaving,  as  it  were,  no  trace  of  his  thoughts  or  deeds.  As  a  matter  of  course, 
his  thoughts  are  but  the  prefignrements  of  thought,  and  his  deeds  only  tenta- 
tive. The  interest  of  the  period  is  in  this,  that  we  may  discover  aptitudes  and 
the  outlines  of  promise.  Even  the  boyhood  of  Napoleon  had  no  more  than  this. 
The  boyhood  of  Frederick  the  Great  must  be  summed  up  in  a  few  lines  or 
paragraphs.  So  of  all  the  rest,  great  and  small,  whose  lives  and  activities  have 
made  up  the  warp  and  woof  of  history. 

One  of  the  premonitory  signs  of  the  lasting  fame  of  Blaine  is  the  fact 
that  tradition  and  story  telling  have  become  rife  in  the  last  days,  in  and 
around  "Indian  Hill  Farm,"  at  West  Brownsville.  The  old  "place"  has  now, 
in  great  measure,  gone  to  decay.  The  agricultural  interest  has  virtually  dis- 
appeared in  the  neighborhood  before  the  mining  interest.  Coal  diggers  have 
planted  themselves  where  the  country  squire  formerly  rode  on  horseback  from 
his  home  to  the  neighboring  mill  or  village.  "  Indian  Hill  Farm "  looks  to 
the  river.  The  house  itself,  in  which  Blaine  was  born,  has  become  a  relic. 
The  alleged  veranda  has  careened  towards  a  topple  and  the  final  oblivion  of 
dust.  There  are  cracks  and  rents  in  the  dwelling,  and  the  outside  wooden 
steps  are  fast  becoming  a  reminiscence  of  the  aspiring  feet  that  aforetime  made 
them  patter. 

As  we  have  said,  a  few  of  the  antique  inhabitants  still  remain.  One  is  a 
certain  Captain  Van  Hook,  who  is  rising  to  the  octogenarian.     The  Captain  was 


a  relative  of  Maria  Gillespie.  He  remembers  Jimmy  Blaine  with  the  fond  and 
patronizing  memory  of  old  age.  He  represents  the  boy  to  have  been  a  reader  of 
books,  who  permitted  his  brothers  to  do  the  work.  The  old  gentleman  alleges 
that  his  wife  was  the  original  discoverer  of  Jimmy  Blaine — that  is,  the  dis- 
coverer of  his  promise.  She  knew  him  when  he  skipped  about  the  door  yard. 
The  Captain  was  a  friend  and  neighbor  of  Ephraim  L.  Blaine,  though  con- 
siderably his  junior.  He  says  that  the  elder  Blaine  never  knew  how  much  a 
dollar  was  worth  and  that  he  kept  open  house  the  year  around.  He  relates 
also  something  of  the  manners  which  prevailed  in  the  old  home.  The  frontier 
American  was,  in  his  day,  great  in  politics.  Ephraim  L.  Blaine  was  a  Whig 
of  the  Whigs.  At  his  house  there  were  the  usual  neighborhood  political 
debates,  and  it  is  said  that  the  boy  James  used  to  sit  at  nights  and  listen  to. 
the  endless  discussions  and  personalities  of  the  contention — this,  while  his 
brothers  went  to  bed. 

Another  resident  of  West  Brownsville,  who  has  good  cause  to  remember 
the  boy  Blaine,  is  J.  E.  Adams,  who  was  a  schoolmate  of  young  James.  He 
claims  that  the  future  Secretary  of  State  was  not  a  very  studious  lad,  but 
that  he  learned  his  lessons  with  extraordinary  facility.  The  memory  of  Mr. 
Adams  teems  with  recollections  of  his  vivacious  playfellow.  He  gives  this 
story  of  a  certain  contest  in    which   he  himself  was  worsted : — 

"Jimmy  and  his  brother  Eph,  and  another  boy  and  myself  were  down  on 
the  river  bank.  The  Blaine  boys  had  been  forbidden  by  their  father  to 
go  in  swimming,  but  Eph  and  we  three  wanted  to  break  over  and  go  any- 
how. Jimmy  would  not  go  in,  nor  would  he  promise  not  to  tell.  Had  he 
promised  it  would  have  been  square,  as  his  word  was  good.  Eph  and  he 
went  off  a  bit  talking,  and  then  seemed  to  engage  in  a  quarrel.  Eph 
called  me  to  come  and  lick  Jimmy,  but  I  told  him  to  do  it  himself.  Then 
he  said  he  would  lick  me,  too,  so  I  went  back  to  see  the  trouble.  Eph  and 
I  presently  squared  up  and  went  at  it  to  his  disadvantage.  Presently  he 
got  even  and  brought  me  up  with  a  chunk  of  clay  that  hit  me  under 
the  chin.  Jimmy  Blaine  and  I  became  firm  friends  from  that  altercation.  He 
himself  was  a  pretty  fair  fighter.  He  was  an  awkward,  thickset  boy  and  not 
nice  to  handle.  But  he  did  not  like  to  fight.  In  that  he  was  just  opposite  to 
Eph.     Jimmy  would  not  be  crowded  and  when  he  was  crowded  he  would  fight." 

More  interesting  than  this  is  Mr.  Adams'  verification  of  what  we  shall 
presently  refer  to,  and  that  is,  the  boy  Blaine's  aptitude  for  mathematics. 
Numbers  seem  never  to  have  been  a  puzzle  to  him.  The  tradition  is  also 
verified  of  the  boy's  great  memory,  particularly  his  memory  of  faces.  It  is 
said  that  after  his  rise  to  reputation  he  returned,  on  a  certain  occasion,  to  the 
old  home,  and  though  thirty  years  had  elapsed,  was  able  to  recognize  his  old 

One  thing  in  the  case  of  the  boy  Blaine  we  may  note  with  interest,  and 
that  is,  that  his  education  was  undertaken  by  his  parents  at  home.     Whatever 


we  may  say  of  our  schools  it  cannot  be  doubted  that  a  home  education,  when 
it  is  ample  and  well  directed,  is  the  most  efficient  in  the  development  of 
character.  Buckle  owed  his  training  wholly  to  his  mother.  Of  the  schools, 
other  than  that  one  school,  he  knew  nothing  except  what  he  learned  by  after 
observation ;  and  for  them  he  cared  as  little  as  he  knew.  But  he  had  facility 
in  eleven  languages,  and  laid  at  least  the  foundation  of  one  of  the  greatest 
historical  works  of  the  century. 

The  task  of  educating  James  G.  Blaine  in  his  childhood  was  assumed  by 
his  mother.  It  appears  that  the  father  also  lent  a  hand.  Whatever  may  be 
said  of  the  narrowness  and  prejudice  of  the  Scotch-Presbyterian  character,  it  must 
be  allowed  that  it  was  a  character  to  educate  withal.  The  old  half-Celts  who 
settled  the  Virginia  and  Pennsylvania  valleys  were  given  to  books — such  books 
as  they  were — and  these  they  taught  to  their  children  with  an  intensity  as  hot 
as  the  channel  in  which  it  flowed  was  narrow.  Blaine's  early  training  was 
home-training.  The  foundations  were  laid  deep  in  the  affections  and  inspira- 
tions of  the  hearthstone. 

We  do  not  doubt  that  Blaine's  fine  manners  were  planted  here  also.  The 
world  knows  his  great  accomplishments,  his  preeminence  in  this  particular. 
It  is  doubtful  whether,  as  a  man,  debonair  and  cultured,  having  the  suaviter  in 
modo  as  well  as  the  utile  in  re,  he  has  had  any  superior  in  the  public  or  private 
life  of  our  country.  One  thing  is  certain — Blaine  was  a  gentleman.  He  was 
so  by  nature  and  certainly  so  by  training.  His  manners  were  as  easy  and 
perfect  as  they  were  superior.  They  combined  easily  and  naturally  with  the 
enthusiasm  of  his  character,  and  constituted  the  elegant  dress  in  which  his 
strong  personality  moved  among  his  compeers  and  was  seen  of  the  people. 
The  foundation  of  all  this  was  laid  by  his  mother  and  father  in  the  childhood 
home.  Such  culture  is  never  acquired — or  not  easily  acquired — after  a  youth 
has  reached  his  later  teens. 

This  essential  and  strong  development  in  boyhood  culture  continued  until 
he  had  reached  the  beginning  of  his  twelfth  year.  It  was  early  in  1841 
that  the  first  foreign  movement  of  the  youth  is  discovered.  Hon.  Thomas 
Ewing,  of  Lancaster,  Ohio,  at  that  time  Secretary  of  the  Treasury  under  Tyler, 
was  a  near  kinsman  by  marriage  of  Ephraim  L.  Blaine.  This  relation  was 
the  origin  of  a  visit,  in  the  year  referred  to,  of  James  G.  Blaine  to  the  home 
of  Ewing  at  Lancaster.  It  is  certain  that  Blaine  was  a  vivacious,  promising 
and  handsome  boy.  The  Ewings  were  delighted  with  him  and  a  hearty  com- 
panionship sprang  up,  with  the  readiness  of  youthful  affection,  between  the 
visitor  and  his  cousin,  Thomas  Ewing,  Jr.,  who  was  destined  to  reach  the 
Congress  of  the  United  States. 

Young  Ewing  was  half  a  year  older  than  Blaine,  having  been  born  in  August 
of  1829.  The  two  lads  went  to  school  together  at  the  Lancaster  Academy, 
and  in  this  profitable  way  a  considerable  part  of  the  following  two  years 
were  passed.       Already    the    spontaneous    forces    in    Blaine    were    beginning    to 


act  We  may  discover  in  this  early  period  of  his  boyhood  the  first  flutter 
of  ambitious  wings  -within  him.  Between  his  twelfth  and  fourteenth  years  he 
began  to  think  and  to  act  for  himself.  If  we  mistake  not,  the  father  and  mother 
had  the  discernment  to  allow  their  promising  boy  to  follow  the  bent  and 
suggestion  of  his  own  nature.  Half  the  boys  of  the  world  are  spoiled,  and 
three-fourths  of  the  other  half  injured  by  the  unthinking  but  loving  oppression 
of  fatherhood  and  motherhood  upon  them.  This  is  not  to  say  that  fatherhood 
and  motherhood  can  be  spared  as  a  developing  and  directing  force  over  the  super- 
fluous energies  of  boyhood  and  youth,  but  only  to  affirm  that  he  who  comes  to 
aught  must  do  so  by  growing  in  the  direction  of  his  own  purpose  and  aspira- 
ration  rather  than  in  the  direction  which  an  over-fond  and  anxious  father  may 
think  he  ought  to  take.  We  believe  that  Blaine  was,  at  an  early  day,  freed 
from  this  trammel,  and  the  result  has  been  that  the  name  of  Blaine  has  covered 
with  a  halo  not  only  his  own  career  but  that  of  his  family,  his  ancestors,  and 
let  us  hope  his  descendants. 

It  was  during  his  stay  at  Lancaster  that  he  and  Thomas  Ewing,  Jr.,  both 
boys  of  thirteen,  formed  the  plan  of  a  collegiate  education.  They  would  both 
go  to  college,  become  scholars  and  be  men  of  distinction.  Herein  is  the  glory 
of  American  life.  The  rest  we  may  omit  from  the  count.  America  does  give 
to  the  young  man,  to  the  boy,  a  chance.  Blessed  be  the  gift  of  a  chance!  It 
may  be  that  our  country  does  not  now  concede  the  chance  as  fully  and  freely 
as  she  did  in  the  middle  of  the  century.  If  so,  why  so  much  the  worse  for 
her !  Let  not  the  Republic,  if  she  would  survive  and  be  glorious,  trammel  up 
the  chance  of  any  of  her  boys.  The  aspiration  of  the  youthful  heart  must  still 
glow  and  find  a  way,  if  we  would  keep  our  liberty  and  hold  our  rank  among  the 

As  for  Blaine,  he  chose  to  go,  after  his  experience  at  Lancaster,  to  Wash- 
ington College,  in  his  native  county.  Young  Ewing,  his  friend  and  playmate, 
went  to  Brown  University,  where  he  was  educated,  and  from  which  he  received 
his  degree,  to  become,  in  1849-50,  private  secretary  to  President  Taylor.  It  is 
probable  that  the  limitation  of  young  Blaine's  resources  determined  the  choice 
of  a  home  college  rather  than  a  more  expensive  and  renowned  college  at  a 

It  would  seem  the  college  project  was  well  developed  by  the  youth  during 
his  stay  at  Lancaster.  It  is  not  clear  who  thought  out  the  methods,  but  we 
are  inclined  to  give  that  praise  to  Thomas  Ewing,  Sr.  That  statesman  discov- 
ered in  his  own  son  and  in  his  son's  companion  the  aptitudes  which  they 
possessed,  and  encouraged  and  directed  somewhat  their  boyish  counsels  in  the 
matter  of  a  more  complete  education. 

It  was  to  this  end  that  a  competent  instructor  was  provided  for  both 
youths  at  Lancaster.  He  was  a  tutor,  well  trained  for  his  work,  and  was  none 
other  than  William  Lyons,  brother  of  that  Lord  Lyons,  the  Englishman,  who 
was  destined  to  make  a  conspicuous    appearance    at  a  subsequent  period  in  the 


diplomacy  of  our  country  aud  his  own.  Lyons  taught  the  two  ambitious 
youths  and  prepared  them  for  entrance  into  college.  Perhaps  the  requirements 
for  such  entrance,  at  least  into  Washington  College,  were  not  severe  in  the 
early  part  of  the  fifth  decade.  At  any  rate,  the  boy  Blaine  was  easily  fitted  by 
his  tutor  for  entrance  into  the  superior  institution.  This  academic  and  private 
training  extended  over  the  years  1841-42.  In  1S43,  young  Blaine,  though  only 
in  the  beginning  of  his  fourteenth  year,  was  thought  to  be  ready  for  college. 
It  proved  to  be  so,  and  he  was  admitted  to  the  freshman  class  of  Washington, 
in  the  fall  of  the  year  referred  to. 

This  event  constituted  the  border-line  of  the  first  period  of  Blaine's 
development.  There  is  no  crisis  more  distinct  in  the  life  of  a  young  man 
than  that  which  marks  his  entrance  into  college.  From  that  day  the  boyhood 
home  begins  to  fall  back  into  the  shadows.  From  that  day  the  blessed  face 
•of  the  mother  is  seen  less  distinctly,  though  not  less  lovingly,  in  the  distance. 
From  that  day  the  world  begins  to  open  with  vision  and  prospect.  The 
horizon  falls  back ;  the  earth  broadens,  and  the  sky  is  so  lifted  as  to  reveal 
the  planets  and  stars.  It  is  the  first  day  of  a  new  life,  which  the  boy,  going 
forth  on  his  pilgrimage,  may  know  once,  but  never  know  again. 

Before  speaking  of  Blaine's  career  at  college,  we  may  note  with  particu- 
larity one  or  two  things  about  the  preliminary  period  of  his  life.  It  is  said 
that  in  the  village  school  at  West  Brownsville  (such  is  the  tradition  of  the 
neighbors)  he  showed  remarkable  aptitude  for  learning,  a  strong  memory  and 
a  great  liking  for  biography  and  such  history  as  he  was  able  to  grasp.  These 
symptoms  were  in  him,  as  they  are  in  all,  the  earnest  of  a  strong  and  com- 
prehensive development.  It  is  said  also  that  his  tastes  and  habits  in  school  were 
dashed  with  many  touches  of  practicality  and  ready  adaptation  to  conditions. 
Another  peculiarity  of  his  mind  was  his  aptitude  for  mathematical  study,  in 
which  he  is  said  to  have  surpassed.  This  combination  of  talents  and  disposi- 
tions was  peculiarly  promising  and  potential  of  much  that  has  come  to  pass  in 
the  future  development  of  our  subject.  It  was  also  noted  that  Blaine  in  his 
boyhood  had  an  unusual  readiness — a  quickness  of  perception — which  fore- 
tokened his  remarkable  power  in  spontaneous  debate. 

Had  it  been  foreseen  at  West  Brownsville  what  the  boy  Blaine  would  come 
to,  no  doubt  all  gossips  and  myth-makers  would  have  been  busy  with  the 
anomaly.  But  the  gossips  and  myth-makers  did  not  know  the  lad  or  his  future, 
and  thus  lost  their  opportunity.  Had  they  possessed  the  prescience,  some  of 
them  might  have  become  immortal  by  swinging  traditionally  to  the  skirts  of 
one  of  the  foremost  American  statesman  of  the  nineteenth  century.  As  it  is, 
there  is  silence,  or  semi-silence,  about  the  boy  of  West  Brownsville.  One 
old  friend  of  the  family,  however,  tells  this  story  :  At  the  close  of  a  school 
term,  when  Blaine  was  a  mere  lad  of  nine  or  ten  years,  he,  among  others,  was 
called  upon  for  a  declamation,  or,  as  it  was  called,  to  "speak  a  piece."  He 
pleaded  lack  of  preparation ;  but  the  teacher  replied  that  he  must  stand  up  and 



repeat  something,  no  matter  what.  Arising  from  his  seat,  the  boy  declaimed,  with 
wonderful  gestures  and  proper  emphasis,  the  Apostles'  Creed,  which  he  remembered 
from  hearing  it  repeated  a  few  times  by  a  schoolmate.  It  answered  the  emergency. 
In  the  fall  of  1S43  James  G.  Blaine,  in  his  fourteenth  year,  is  a  freshman 
at  Washington  College.  The  institution  was  situated  at  Washington,  the 
county  seat  of  his  native  county,  about  thirty  miles  from  Pittsburgh.  The 
population  at  that  time  was  not  more  than  2000.  The  place,  however,  was  the 
seat  of  the  institution  referred  to  above.  Jefferson  College  was  located  at  Can- 
onsburg,  about  ten  miles  away,  in  the  same  county.  These  two  were  subse- 
quently, in  1865,  united  to  form  the  Washington  and  Jefferson  College.  It  is 
evident  that  the  spirit  of  education  has  always  prevailed    about   the    place    and 


through  the  county.  As  early  as  1791  the  Academy  of  Canonsburg  was  opened, 
and  this  became,  nine  years  afterwards,  Jefferson  College.  Washington  Col- 
lege had  existed  previously  to  1S06,  and  as  far  back  as  1787  was  known  under 
the  name  of  Washington  Academy.  In  1S06  the  institution  was  chartered  as  a 
college,  and  had  been  conducted  as  such  for  thirty-seven  years  when  Blaine 
became  a  student  there.  It  was  under  the  patronage  and  direction  of  the  Pres- 
byterian Church — another  circumstance  which  may  have  contributed  to  the  choice 
of  this  place  for  the  formal  education  of  Blaine.  The  father  was  not  likely  to 
forego  or  neglect  the  opportunity  to  impress  upon  his  son,  in  the  formative 
period  of  his  career,  that  austere  but  thorough-going  religion  which  he  him- 
self had  willingly  inherited  from  his  ancestors. 


The  college  life  of  a  young  man  is  likely  to  leave  a  tradition,  but  hardly 
a  history.  His  name  appears  in  the  catalogue  from  year  to  year,  and  the 
records  of  the  college  show  his  class  standing  and  rank  at  graduation.  But, 
beyond  this,  there  is  not  much  that  is  trustworthy.  The  rest  is  a  matter  of 
opinion  rather  than  of  fact.  The  vision  of  students  is  magnified  and  colored 
with  all  manner  of  optical  illusions.  Very  few  of  our  sedate  and  mature 
citizens,  in  public  or  in  private  life,  are  able  to  recite  without  all  of  the  prejudice, 
animation  and  passion  of  boyhood,  the  events  of  their  college  days.  No  sooner 
do  they  begin,  than  they  are  in  the  swim  again.  The  landscape  is  suddenly 
transformed  ;  the  old  halo  comes  back  and  rests  on  the  campus.  The  sunshine  of 
vanished  years  flashes  among  the  trees,  and  the  aurora  borealis  flames  up  by  night. 

Out  of  such  conditions  there  may  spring  a  whole  cycle  of  poetry,  love,  art, 
tradition,  mythology — but  hardly  any  history !  One  man,  a  certain  Mr.  Gow, 
editor  of  a  Pennsylvania  newspaper,  has  left  his  opinion  of  Blaine  on  record. 
They  two  were  classmates,  and  Mr.  Gow  has  this  to  say  about  the  school  days 
of  his  distinguished  fellow:  "  Blaine  was  graduated  in  the  class  of  1847,  when 
he  was  only  seventeen  years  old.  I  was  graduated  in  the  same  class.  We 
were  thrown  a  great  deal  together,  not  only  in  school  but  in  society.  He  was  a 
great  favorite  in  the  best  social  circles  in  the  town.  He  was  not  noted  as  a 
leader  in  his  class.  He  could  learn  his  lessons  too  easily.  He  had  the  most 
remarkable  memory  of  any  boy  in  school,  and  could  commit  and  retain  his 
lessons  without  difficulty.  He  never  demonstrated  in  his  youth,  except  by  his 
wonderful  memory,  any  of  the  great  powers  as  a  debater  and  thinker  that  he 
has  since  given  evidence  of." 

One  of  the  peculiarities  about  the  foregoing  comments  is  the  illustration 
which  they  afford  of  a  common  trait  in  human  character.  Students,  grown  to 
manhood  and  reputation,  are  rarely  able  to  recognize  the  great  differences  which 
appear  among  them  by  a  development  subsequent  to  their  college  days.  One 
is  not  able  to  perceive  that  another  has  so  far  outgrown  himself.  It  may  be 
noted  that  where  classmates  have  been  subsequently  associated  with  classmates 
as  their  subordinates  in  official  station  or  as  their  secretaries,  the  latter  have 
rarely  been  able  to  perceive  that  those  who  were  formerly  their  familiars  and 
equals  have  now  become  of  such  vastly  greater  stature  than  themselves. 

This  trait  is  strikingly  manifested  in  the  recently  published  Memoirs  of 
Bourienne,  private  secretary  to  Napoleon  from  the  Italian  campaign  down  to 
Elba.  It  would  seem  that  Bourienne  has  not  been  able  in  any  place  to  perceive 
that  his  former  classmate  had  become  not  only  the  first  man  in  France,  but  the 
leading  figure  of  European  history,  and  one  of  the  two  or  three  greatest  warriors 
of  the  world.  We  may  accept  Mr.  Gow's  testimony  as  to  the  promise  of  young 
Blaine  at  college.  But  we  must  also  remember  what,  if  we  were  writing  a  new 
work  on  logic,  we  should  designate  as  the  "  Fallacy  of  the  Classmate." 

It  is  in  evidence  that  Blaine  distinguished  himself,  at  least  in  a  measure, 
as  a  student    at    Washington    College.      His    superiority  ran    in    two    or    three 


directions.  He  had  a  fondness  for  historical  and  literary  studies.  In  these  he 
reached  unusual  attainments  while  still  a  youth.  The  tradition  goes  that  even 
in  boyhood  he  was  an  expert  amid  the  glories  of  Plutarch's  Lives.  He  reveled 
in  the  highly-colored  and  half-authentic  stories  which  the  Greek  biographer  has 
transmitted  to  the  youth  of  all  civilized  nations.  After  all  it  does  not  so  much 
matter,  in  such  cases,  how  much  is  truth  and  how  much  fiction.  Plutarch  is 
Plutarch  anyhow,  and  the  invented  example  is  almost  as  good  as  the  other. 
Let  us  be  thankful  for  Plutarch!  How  dark  and  dismal  would  be  the  intel- 
lectual world  of  radiant  boyhood  if  it  were  not  for  Plutarch!  He  is  the  prose 
Shakespeare  of  all  nations — the  father  of  the  heroic  in  literature,  whose  pictured 
pages  have  been  transferred  to  the  warm  leaves  of  boyish  intelligence  among  a 
score  of  the  greatest  races  of  men.  Let  it  be  as  it  has  been.  Blaine  caught, 
we  do  not  doubt,  from  the  Plutarch  gallery,  much  of  the  high-colored  and 
heroic  strain.  It  were  not  impossible  to  discover  the  remains  of  the  early  glow 
and  fiction,  in  the  life  and  thought  of  the  statesman,  as  far  on  as  the  Senate 
Chamber  and  the  foreign  office  under  two  administrations. 

We  have  already  spoken  of  Blaine's  aptitude  in  mathematical  study.  This 
may  be  wondered  at  and  admired ;  for  the  mathematical  faculty  does  not  usually 
co-exist,  even  in  great  minds,  with  the  excursive  and  imaginative  faculty  which 
Blaine  possessed  in  so  high  a  measure  of  activity.  Without  doubt,  the  possession 
of  mathematical  ability  is  of  high  value  to  a  public  man,  particularly  if  he  be 
destined  to  deal  with  economic  questions.  The  exact  spirit  of  the  age  requires 
truth  in  the  political  economist,  and  will  have  proof  as  well  as  assertion.  The 
economist  must  be  a  statistician,  and  to  be  such  demands  a  large  measure,  not 
indeed  of  mathematical  attainment,  but  of  mathematical  aptitude  and  talent. 
This  is  as  much  of  a  requisite  in  the  political  economist  of  our  times  as  mathe- 
matical formulae  are  requisite  in  bridge-building  and  surveying.  We  do  not  any 
longer  depend  upon  theorizing  and  unwarranted  generalizations  in  the  matter  of 
economics,  but  on  the  exact  results  of  statistics  and  the  doctrine  of  averages.  In 
Blaine  the  aptitude  for  numbers  entered  into  easy  and  subordinate  combination 
with  the  higher  faculties  of  ideality  and  the  rapid  excursions   of  generalization. 

In  another  particular,  Blaine  is  said  to  have  been  eminent  as  a  college 
student.  This  was  in  forensics.  He  was  a  born  debater.  His  passion  in  this 
direction  was  not  exactly  a  litigious  instinct,  but  a  disposition  for  abstract  debate. 
It  was  not  a  war  of  facts,  but  a  war  of  questions  and  policies  in  which  he 
delighted  from  a  boy.  The  college  of  Blaine's  day  had,  as  one  of  its  strongest 
adjuncts,  the  open  debating  society.  College  fraternities  had  not  as  yet  thrust 
themselves  into  the  arena  as  the  chief  facts  for  which  young  men  exist.  The 
Greek-letter  societies  came  on  in  the  West  in  the  fourth  and  fifth  decades ;  some 
of  them  later.  But  the  old  legitimate  debating  society  was  a  great  fact  in  the 
primitive  and  middle  age  college  of  the  West. 

It  is  not  clear  that  the  loss  of  this  open  arena  in  our  institutions  of 
learning  has  been  at  all    compensated    by  the    inrush    of   the  Greek  fraternity. 



The  latter  is,  no  doubt,  as  splendid  as  it  is  unknowable.  But  the  old  open  society- 
was  both  splendid  and  knowable.  It  was  free.  The  college  neophyte  walked 
into  it  with  the  air  of  one  about  to  conquer.  He  gave  his  essay,  his  oration,  his 
declamation,  in  particular  his  debate,  as  one  might  do  who  was  convinced  of 
the  necessity  of  himself  to  the  equilibrium  of  nature.  His  vieAV  on  this 
question,  after  the  delivery  of  his  part,  was  frequently  modified  and  toned  down 
by  the  distinct  opinions  of  his  fellows  ! 

But  it  was  a  great  arena.  The  tradition  exists  at  Washington  College 
that  young  Blaine  was  the  first  man  of  his  age  in  the  matter  of  forensics.  He 
was  a  natural  speaker,  took  delight  in  preparation  and  in  delivery,  sought 
opportunity  to  speak  much,  spoke  well  and  gained  applause,  and,  what  is 
unusual    in    such    cases,  is  said    to    have    debated    the    question.     Generally,  in 

such  societies,  it  is  not  the  question, 
but  something  else,  that  is  debated ! 
Young  Alexander  Hamilton,  in  a  place 
called  "  the  Fields,"  near  Columbia  Col- 
lege, attended  a  patriot  meeting  in  1774. 
There  were  several  speeches.  The  strip- 
ling said  to  one  of  his  companions, 
"  The  speakers  have  fire  and  enthu- 
siasm, but  they  don't  debate  the  ques- 
tion.'1'' As  a  rule,  the  man  who  debates 
the  question  is  a  coming  man. 

Beyond  what  is  here  sketched,  little 
or  nothing  is  known  of  Blaine's  career 
at  college.  Two  additional  facts  may 
be  cited  and  these  are,  first,  Blaine's 
remarkable  social  qualities.  These  were 
in  the  bloom  at  the  epoch  of  his  college 
life.  None  were  his  superiors  in  the 
society  of  the  coiinty  town  where  he 
flourished  for  four  years.  His  presence  was  already  distinguished.  He  was 
a  handsome  young  man,  of  full  height,  manners  the  most  genial,  a  fascinating 
address,  readiness  of  utterance,  wit  not  a  little,  repartee  by  nature,  companionable 
traits,  and,  indeed,  every  quality  and  qualification  likely  to  attract  to  himself 
the  admiring  gaze  and  affection  of  both  young  and  old. 

The  second  fact  is  that  he  was,  notwithstanding  the  testimony  of  his  class- 
mate Gow,  first  in  his  class.  At  any  rate,  he  is  said  to  have  been  graduated 
with  the  first  rank.  This  was  in  the  summer  of  1847.  Abroad,  things 
were  preparing  themselves  at  that  date  for  the  great  events  of  the  following 
year.  The  combustibles  of  revolution  are  already  smoking  in  Berlin  and 
Vienna.  The  throne  of  the  Citizen  King  is  beginning  to  rock.  General  Scott 
is  on  the  way  from  Perote  to  the  City  of  the  Montezumas.      It  was  a  fair  day 


LIFE   AND    WORK   OF  JAMES   G.   BLAINE.  49 

in  which  a  young  man  about  to  devote  his  genius  to  statesmanship  snould  be 
graduated   "  with  the  first  place  in  his  class." 

Before  concluding  this  initial  chapter  of  the  biography  of  Blaine,  we 
should  note  a  circumstance  most  important  to  the  life  of  every  one ;  namely,  the 
public  opinion  and  drift  of  events  round  about  the  forming  character.  It  was 
during  the  college  days  of  Blaine  that  the  whole  Mexican  question,  involving 
excitement,  diplomacy  and  war,  rose  to  the  surface,  whirled  for  a  year  or  two 
along  the  horizon,  and  began  to  subside  with  the  invasion  and  conquest  of  the 
enemy's  country.  When  Blaine  entered  college,  the  question  of  the  annexation 
of  Texas  was  fully  on.  The  situation  had  been  already  contrived.  The 
political  opinion  of  the  country  was  strongly  divided  on  that  issue.  The  Whig 
part}r,  having  in  its  breast  the  potency  of  the  anti-slavery  sentiment,  which  was 
soon  to  express  itself  in  universal  disruption,  opposed  the  annexation  scheme, 
not  so  much,  indeed,  because  of  the  injustice  which  was  to  be  done  ultimately  to 
a  sister  Republic,  as  because  the  area  of  human  slavery  was  to  be  enlarged  by 
the  addition  of   an  empire  for  that  purpose. 

The  propagandists  of  the  peculiar  institution,  on  the  other  hand,  favored 
an  annexation  for  the  counter  reason  that  thereby  their  social  and  domestic 
svstem  might  be  extended  to  the  Rio  Grande  and  finally  to  the  Pacific.  Should 
Texas  be  acquired,  territory  enough  would  be  thus  secured  to  add  five  States 
to  the  Union.  All  of  these  would  be  slave  States.  Each  would  have  two 
Senators  of  the  United  States  in  the  Capitol.  These  would  be  ten  Senators  in 
all.  The  equipoise  would  thus  be  kept  against  the  overgrowth  of  the  North. 
The  South  would  continue  to  reign  as  she  had  reigned  for  many  years.  Shall 
we  annex  or  shall  we  not  annex  ?  Shall  we  fight  and  conquer  Mexico,  or  shall 
we  refrain  from  fighting  and  conquest? 

Such  were  the  dominant  questions  of  the  day,  so  far  as  public  policies  were 
concerned ;  and  these  were  the  questions  which,  without  doubt,  were  hotly  debated 
in  the  literary  society  of  Washington  College.  There  young  Blaine  stood  up 
and  made  his  maiden  speeches  on  the  very  issues  which  were  discussed  with  so 
much  heat  in  Congress,  and  Cabinet,  and  country  hall,  even  to  the  cabins  of  Iowa, 
Missouri  and  Arkansas.  Now,  the  day  of  boy  debate  is  ended.  The  young 
man  is  graduated  with  fair  auspices  around  him,  and  high  ambition  in  his  heart. 

What  will  he  do  hereafter  ? 




T  may  be  taken  as  true  that  an  aspiring  young  man, 
who  has  been  graduated  from  a  reputable  college,  may, 
with  that  eveut,  begin  to  have  a  history.  Hitherto  the 
^  stellar  evolution  of  character  has  gone  on  slowly 
out  of  the  fire-mist  of  boyhood.  Now  the  same  process 
must  proceed  more  rapidly  until  personality  and 
individuality  are  attained. 

The  first  vision  of  a  personal  career  with  James 
G.  Blaine  seems  to  have  been  that  of  a  teacher.  The 
tendency  to  form  such  a  decision  on  the  part  of  young  men  in 
college  is  strong.  There  the  professors  are  teachers  ;  and  not  a 
few  young  men,  while  in  contact  with  their  professors,  falla- 
ciously suppose  them  to  «be  great.  The  seriousness  of  this 
mistake  is  at  length  discovered,  but  in  many  cases  the  young 
men  have  already  chosen  for  themselves  the  like  pursuit  with 
their  instructors.  It  cannot  be  known  whether  young  Blaine, 
just  graduated  from  Washington  College,  purposed  to  teach 
during  his  career,  or  only  for  a  season.  It  is  probable  that  the 
phantom  of  something  after  that  already  danced  before  his 
imagination  as  he  went  out  with  his  parchment  and  turned 
his  face  to  Kentucky. 
That  commonwealth  was  chosen  as  his  first  scene  of  operations.  The 
motives  of  his  going  thither  are  not  known,  but  the  autumn  of  1847  found 
him  at  Blue  Lick  Springs,  Ky.  At  that  place  there  was  a  military  academy, 
and  James  G.  Blaine,  then  only  in  his  eighteenth  year,  was  chosen  as  oue  of 
the  tutors.  It  was  an  early  beginning.  The  school  in  which  he  found  a 
situation  was  called  the  Western  Military  Institute.  It  was  one  of  many  such 
institutions  which  sprang  up  about  this  time  in  different  parts  of  the  New 
West.  The  plan  of  educating  the  sexes  separately  was  then  universal.  Only 
boys  were  educated  at  the  Blue  Lick  Springs  Academy,  and  of  such,  young 
Professor  Blaine  took  charge,  while  still  three  years   within  his  majority 

The  Western  Military  Institute  was  efficiently  managed  and  well  patronized. 
The  principal  was  Colonel  Thornton  F.  Johnson,  a  man  of  capacity  and  character. 
At  that  time,  there  were  about  four  hundred  and  fifty  pupils  in  attendance. 
Such  schools  were  popular,  especially  in  the  South.  In  that  section  of  the  Union 
the  military  spirit  has  always  prevailed  to  a  greater  degree  than  in  the  North. 
At  the  time  of  the  outbreak  of  the  Civil  War,  thirteen  years  after  the  period  of 


LIFE   AND   WORK   OF  JAMES   G.    BLAINE.  51 

■which  we  speak,  the  South  was  dotted  with  military  institutes,  at  which 
the  greater  number  of  the  sons  of  the  upper  classes  spent  some  time  in 
studying  and  training.  General  Sherman  was  principal  of  such  a  school  when 
the  drama  of  secession  was    begun. 

The  educational  system  of  the  time  divided  itself  everywhere  into  schools 
for  boys  aud  schools  for  girls.  Frequent^  the  institutes  for  the  two  sexes  were 
not  far  apart.  The  Kentucky  plan  had  generally  this  character.  In  some  cases 
the  management  of  the  schools  for  young  men  and  those  for  young  women 
was  common.  In  the  case  of  the  academy  at  Blue  Lick  Springs  there  was  an 
arrangement    of   this    kind.  The    wife  of  Colonel   Johnson    had    charge    of   a 

seminary  for  young  ladies  at  Millersburg,  twenty  miles  away.  That  institution 
also  was  prosperous,  and  not  a  few  girls  and  yotrng  ladies  from  beyond  the 
borders  of  Kentucky  were  gathered  there  for  education.  Among  those  who  came 
thus  from  a  distance  was  Miss  Harriet  Stanwood,  of  Augusta,  Me.  She  went 
to  Millersburg  to  live  with  her  sister  there,  and  presently  became  a  teacher  in 
the  seminary.  It  was  thus  that  the  foundation  was  laid  for  the  usual  romance 
between  the  young  professor  at  Blue  Lick  and  the  preceptress  at  Millersburg. 

Tradition  is  rife  with  stories  of  Blaine's  career  as  a  teacher  in  the  academy. 
He  is  said  to  have  been  a  rather  tall  and,  at  that  time,  a  slender  man,  active, 
vivacious,  quick  in  thought  and  decision,  enthusiastic  even  beyond  the  limits 
of  judgment.  These  qualities  were  well  calculated  to  make  him  friends  and  to 
gain  for  him  the  admiration  of  his  pupils.  The  Southern  boys  have  always 
been  hot-blooded,  quick  to  take  fire,  ready  alike  for  exploit  and  battle.  He  who 
has  seen  them  in  the  institutions  of  the  North  will  have  noticed  the  striking 
difference  in  the  temperament  of  the  Northern  and    Southern  youth. 

There  was  much  that  was  common  in  the  Blaine  character  with  the  hot- 
blooded  temper  of  his  students.  The  concord  between  the  parties  was  of  a  kind 
to  beget  strong  attachment,  but  dangerous  in  the  breaking.  It  is  said  that 
Blaine,  for  his  part,  managed  his  classes  with  success,  and  that  he  was  adroit 
in  discipline,  being  quick  to  find  out  the  foibles  of  the  boys  and  to  penetrate 
their  disguises.  He  is  said  to  have  had  a  strong  sense  of  right  and  wrong,  and 
to  have  administered  discipline  with  a  more  even  hand  than  might  have  been 
expected.  With  his  pupils  he  was  familiar.  His  popularity  was  great.  He 
knew  them  by  name  and  was  wont  to  address  them  by  their  given  names,  and 
to  bear  them  along  in  their  studies  and  recitations  with  a  warmth  and  affection 
which  might  well  go  far  to  win  their  partiality,  while  it  conduced  to  their  mental 
improvement.  In  fact,  if  Blaine's  disposition  had  been  satisfied  with  such  a  life, 
it  can  hardly  be  doubted  that  he  would  have  risen  to  reputation  in  the 
professorial  ranks. 

It  is  said,  however,  that  already  he  began  to  look  beyond  the  rather 
narrow  limitations  of  such  a  life  and  to  hunger  for  the  activities  of  the 
competitive  professions.  It  is  probable  that  while  still  at  Blue  Lick  Springs  he 
began  the  study    of  the  rudiments  of  law.     His    first    two    years  (184S-50)  went 




by  in  this  manner,  and  the  young  professor  approached  his  majority. 
He  began  to  grow  more  manly  and  to  exhibit  greater  strength  of  intellect  and 
more  pronounced  qualities  of  character.  His  relations  with  the  old  homestead 
were  kept  up  with  correspondence  and  occasional  visits.  The  father  had  now 
become  decrepit,  though  not  from  old  age.  After  a  residence  of  thirty-two 
years  at  West  Brownsville,  Ephraim  L-  Blaine  died,  on  the  twenty-eighth  of 
June,  1850.  Professor  Blaine  went  home  from  the  academy  on  that  occasion 
and  was  present  at  the  funeral.  The  stroke  seems  to  have  aroused  him,  and, 
in  a  sense,  to  have  transformed  him.     The  neighbors  remarked    his    change    of 

-     d& 



manner  and  bearing.  Though  he  was  not  quite  of  age,  he,  nevertheless,  had 
become  a  man.  His  beard  had  grown  somewhat,  and  his  form  was  of  full 
stature  and  proportion.  On  the  occasion  of  his  father's  death,  the  religious 
sympathies  of  the  mother  prevailed,  and  the  burial  was  had  in  the  old  Catholic 
churchyard,  the  service  being  in  the  manner  of  the  Mother  Church. 

After  a  brief  sojourn  at  his  old  home,  thus  desolated,  Blaine  returned  in 
the  fall  of  1850,  and  resumed  his  duties  in  the  academy.  Already,  however, 
he  had  begun  that  acquaintance  which  was  to  end  in  his  partnership  for  life. 
The  fact  that  Colonel  Thornton  and  his  wife  were  principal  and  preceptress 
respectively  of  the  schools  at  Blue  Lick  Springs  and  Millersburg  made  the 
communication    of    the    teachers    of    the    two    institutions    easy    and    frequent. 



It  was  iu  this  way  that  Mr.  Blaine  obtained  the  first  introduction  to  Miss 
Harriet  Stanwood,  his  future  wife.  The  acquaintance  grew  at  once  into  friend- 
ship, and  then  into  courtship  and  marriage.  This  took  place  just  after  Blaine 
reached  his  majority,  and  in  the  city  of  Pittsburgh,  in  March  of  1851,  where 
the  couple  stopped  for  their  wedding — which  was  private — on  their  way  to  the 

The  young  wife  was  from  an  old  and  well-known  New  England  family. 
The  Stanwoods  had  their  residence  in  Augusta,  and  it  was  the  wish  of 
the  bride  to  carry  her  young  husband  back  to  that  city  for  a  residence.  It 
appears  that  Blaine  himself  had    not    intended    to    remain    permanently    as    far 


west  as  Kentucky  ;  but  for  the  time  being  the  question  of  a  permanent 
residence  was  undecided.  Young  Mrs.  Blaine  gave  up  her  place  as  teacher 
in  the  Millersburg  Academy  and  visited,  for  a  season,  with  her  parents  at 

Blaine  continued  his  work  at  the  academy  and  held  a  place  of  growing 
influence  in  the  institution  until  early  in  1852,  when  he  made  up  his  mind  to 
seek  a  larger  field  of  prospect  and  ambition.  He  was  not  yet  prepared, 
however,  to  swing  loose  entirely  from  the  teaching  profession.  Though  he  had 
set  his  heart  on  the  law,  his  financial  condition  and  other  motives  prevailed  to 
keep  him  at  the  desk  for  a  time.     Nevertheless,  he  made  up  his  mind  to  leave 

54  LIFE   AND   WORK   OF  JAMES   G.    BLAINE. 

Kentucky,  and  in  1852,  at  the  beginning  of  summer,  he  resigned  his  instructor- 
ship  and  went  to  Philadelphia.  Here,  at  least,  he  would  find  a  wider  arena. 
At  first  he  associated  himself  with  the  law  office  of  Theodore  Cuyler  and  began 
the  acquisition  of  legal  lore  in  such  spare  hours  as  he  could  snatch  from  other 
work.  It  was  at  this  time  that,  still  in  search  for  a  place,  he  noticed  an 
advertisement  which  had  been  inserted  by  the  Pennsylvania  Institution  for  the 
Instruction  of  the  Blind.  This  he  answered  in  person,  and  called  at  the  office 
of  Dr.  William  Chapin,  the  principal  of  the  institution,  and  though  there  were 
about  forty  applicants  who  had  come  to  seek  the  place,  Blaine  carried  off  the 

Dr.  Chapin  has  borne  witness  that  the  applicant's  "  manner  was  so 
winning,  and  he  possessed  so  many  manifestly  valuable  qualities  that  I  closed 
an  engagement  with  him  at  once.  He  was  married,  and  his  wife  and  little 
son,  Stanwood,  came  there  with  him.  His  qualities,  which  impressed  me  most 
deeply,  were  his  culture,  the  thoroughness  of  his  education  and  his  unfailing 
self-possession.  He  was  also  a  man  of  very  decided  will,  and  was  very  much 
disposed  to  argument.  He  was  very  young  then — only  twenty-two — and  was 
rather  impulsive,  leaping  to  a  conclusion  very  quickly.  But  he  was  always 
ready  to  defend  his  conclusions,  however  suddenly  he  seemed  to  have  reached 
them.  We  had  many  a  familiar  discussion,  and  his  arguments  always  astonished 
me  by  the  knowledge  they  displayed  of  facts  in  history  and  politics.  His 
memory  was  remarkable,  and  seemed  to  retain  details  which  ordinary  men 
would  forget." 

The  institution  to  which  Blaine  was  chosen  was  for  the  instruction  of  blind 
children  and  youth.  The  pupils  were  divided,  on  the  line  of  sex,  into  two 
departments.  Blaine  was  elected  principal  of  the  boys'  department  and  taught 
the  youth  in  literature  and  science.  The  reader  will  not  have  failed  to  note 
the  variety  and  extent  of  the  young  professor's  accomplishments.  It  was  an 
all-around  development.  He  seemed  to  be  able  to  teach  any  of  the  branches 
which  he  himself  had  pursued  at  college.  Another  note  to  be  made  is  that  of 
the  early  beginning  or,  as  we  should  say,  the  early  send-off  of  James  G.  Blaine. 
He  already  had  a  mature  man's  work  when  he  reached  his  majority.  It  is  clear 
that  he  was  precocious  as  well  as  active,  and  ambitious  to  a  degree.  "His.  work 
in  the  Pennsylvania  Institution  for  the  Blind  extended  over  two  years.  This 
was  no  great  period  of  time,  but  it  was  sufficient  for  Blaine  to  leave  a  marked 
impression  on  the  school  and  an  enviable  tradition  with  the  management.  His 
success  here,  if  we  mistake  not,  was  much  more  full  and  satisfactory  than  at 
the  Blue  Lick  Springs  Academy.  Dr.  Chapin,  who  continued  to  be  president 
of  the  institution  for  thirty  years  after  the  time  here  referred  to,  bore  unequivocal 
testimony  to  the  popularity  of  Blaine  and  the  loss  to  the  school  on  his  retire- 
ment from  it.  He  has  left  on  record  the  statement  that  the  personal  force  and 
influence  which  the  young  professor  exerted  survived  in  and  around  the  school 
for  an  average  lifetime. 

LIFE   AND   WORK   OF  JAMES   G.   BLAINE.  •        55 

Since  the  rise  of  Blaine  to  national  fame,  the  memory  of  him  has  been 
admiringly  evoked  and  preserved  at  the  school  where  he  taught.  The  building 
stands  at  Twentieth  and  Race  streets,  and  the  institution  is  conducted,  to  the 
present  day,  in  much  the  old-time  manner.  The  authorities  have  gone  back  to 
the  years  of  Blaine  (1852-54)  and  have  found  many  evidences  of  his  successful 
activity  in  the  school.  Among  the  rest,  they  have  evoked  from  the  rubbish  of 
old  archives  a  most  interesting  manuscript  volume  in  Blaine's  own  hand,  pro- 
duced by  him  during  his  incumbency  as  principal.  We  may  note,  in  the  work, 
the  activity  of  his  mind — that  restlessness  for  action  and  accomplishment  which 
mnst  needs  express  itself  in  this  form  or  the  other. 

It  seems  that  the  young  principal  determined  to  produce  a  sort  of  record 
of  the  institution,  which  should  possess  a  permanent  value.  Perhaps  it  is  not 
the  first  time  that  a  man,  so  seeking,  has  made  a  record  of  himself,  rather  than 
of  the  thing  he  was  writing  about.  Blaine's  manuscript  volume  is  still  extant 
and  is  not  likely  to  be  lost.  The  title  page,  elegantly  done  in  the  author's 
handwriting,  is  as  follows  : — 



Pennsylvania  Institution 

for   THE 


from  its   foundation  to  

Compiled   From   Official   Records, 



The  reader  will  note  that  the  author  of  the  manuscript  leaves  a  space  after 
the  word  "  to,"  in  order  to  complete  the  date  when  he  should  retire  from  the 
institution  or  cease  to  keep  the  record.  On  the  next  page  is  the  following 
entry  : — 

"  On  this  and  the  four  following  pages  will  be  found  some  notes  in  regard  to 
the  origin  of  the  Pennsylvania  Institution  for  the  Instruction  of  the  Blind,  furnished 
b}^  I.  Francis  Fisher."  To  this  a  Philadelphia  newspaper  adds  :  "  From  this  page, 
the  188th,  in  which  is  the  first  entry  made  by  Mr.  Blaine,  every  line  is  a  model  of 
neatness  and  accuracy.  On  every  page  is  a  wide  margin.  At  the  top  of  the  margin 
is  the  year  in  ornamental  figures.  Below  it  is  a  brief  statement  of  what  the  text 
contains  opposite  that  portion  of  the  marginal  entry.  Every  year's  record  closes 
with  an  elaborate  table,  giving  the  attendance  of  members  of  the  board.  The 
last  pages  of  the  book  are  filled  with  alphabetical  lists  of  officers  of  the  institution 
and    statistical    tables,  compiled    by  the    same  patient  and  untiring  hand.     One 


of  the  lists  is  that  of  the  'principal  teachers.'     List   No.   13  is  followed    by  the 

signature  'James  G.  Blaine,  from  August  5,   1852    to  ■'  and  then  in  another 

hand  the  record  is  completed,  from   the  date  November  23,   1854." 

This  record  kept  by  young  Professor  Blaine  has  beeu  much  praised  by  the 
authorities  of  the  institution.  It  shows  a  masterly  and  industrious  mind.  It 
reveals  a  quality,  which  is  unfortunately  too  rare  among  the  sons  of  men ; 
namely,  the  determination  to  do  as  well  as  possible,  whatever  is  to  be  done, 
even  though  the  work  in  question  is  only  transitional — as,  indeed,  was  the  case 
in  this  instance.  Blaine  was  now  clearly  looking  to  the  law  and  to  a  public 
life ;  but,  nevertheless,  he  did  the  recording  in  a  manner  conspicuously  superior 
to  that  of  any  of  his  predecessors  or  successors  in  the  recorder's  office.  Dr.  Chapin, 
in  the  afterpart  of  his  life,  was  wont  to  refer  with  pride  to  the  Blaine  manuscript, 
declaring  that  it  showed  an  accurate  mastery  of  facts  and  orderly  presentation 
of  details.  "  We  still  use  it,"  the  doctor  was  wont  to  say,  "  for  reference,"  and 
Mr.  Frank  Battles,  the  assistant  principal,  is  bringing  the  record  down  to  the 
present  time. 

Some  of  Blaine's  pupils  at  the  institution  for  the  blind  were  still  surviving 
at  the  close  of  our  ninth  decade.  One  of  these,  Michael  M.  Williams,  has  left 
the  following  testimony  in  regard  to  his  former  instructor:  "  Everybody,"  says 
he,  "  loved  Mr.  Blaine  and  his  wife.  Both  were  always  ready  to  do  anything 
for  our  amusement  in  leisure  hours,  and  we  had  a  great  deal  of  fun,  into  which 
they  entered  heartily.  I  think  that  Mrs.  Blaine  read  nearly  all  of  Dickens' 
works  aloud  to  us;  and  Mr.  Blaine  used  to  make  us  all  roar  with  laughter  by 
reading  out  of  a  book  entitled  '  Charcoal  Sketches.'  In  the  evening  he  used 
to  read  aloud  to  both  the  boys  and  girls.  Then  we  would  wind  up  with  a 
spelling  bee.  Sometimes  Mr.  Blaine  would  give  out  the  words  and  sometimes 
one  of  the  big  boys  would  do  it,  while  Mr.  Blaine  stood  up  among  the  boys. 
Then  we  would  have  great  fun  trying  to  spell  the  teacher  down.'1'' 

We  are  still  further  indebted  to  Mr.  Williams,  or  "  Michael,"  as  he  is 
commonly  called,  for  quite  an  account  of  the  life  and  manner  of  Professor 
Blaine.  Michael  was  admitted  to  the  school  in  1853,  when  Blaine  bad  been 
there  about  a  year.  Williams  was  then  a  lad  of  eighteen,  blind,  a  total 
stranger  in  the  city  and  without  friends.  He  was  taken  to  the  school  by 
a  railway  employe.  On  arriving  at  the  building  he  was  met  by  Mr.  Blaine 
in  person,  who  opened  the  door  and  was  so  kind  and  considerate  that  he 
immediately  won  his  way  to  Michael's  heart,  and  in  turn  gave  him  his 

A  part  of  Mr.  Blaine's  duty  as  principal  teacher  was  to  ring  the  large 
bell  to  assemble  and  dismiss  the  school.  This  duty  was  onerous,  and  one  day 
he  entered  into  a  compact  with  Michael  that  in  consideration  of  Michael's 
ringing  the  bell  he  would  give  him  permission  to  go  out  of  the  grounds  when 
he  pleased.  This  was  faithfully  adhered  to  by  both  until  Mr.  Blaine  left,  and 
as  a  matter  of  fact  Michael  rings  the  bell  to  this  day  ! 



Mr.  Blaine  entered  upon  his  duties  September,'  1852,  and  res.gned 
November,  1854.  He  was  head-master  and  Mrs.  Blaine  was  his  assistant. 
The)7  had  at  that  time  one  child,  Stanwood.  When  Mrs.  Blaine  read  to  the 
pupils  she  would  frequently  put  the  little  boy  in  Michael's  lap,  where  he 
would  curl  up  and  go  to  sleep. 

Both  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Blaine  were  very  much  liked  by  the  pupils.  They 
read  general  literature  aloud  to  them.  Mr.  Blaine  was  particularly  fond  of 
the  humorous,  his  favorite  books  being  "Charcoal  Sketches"  and  "Pickwick 
Papers."  He  would  laugh  aloud,  almost  immoderately,  to  the  great  diversion 
of  the  pupils.  He  was  very  kind  to  the  pupils  and  mingled  freely  with  them 
out  of  school,  when  he  would 
get  them  to  play  and  sing  for 
him,  as  he  was  passionately 
fond  of  music.  He  was  a  strict 
disciplinarian,  however,  and  was 
indefatigable  in  seeing  his  rules 

Mr.  Blaine  was  fond  of 
argument  and  would  encour- 
age the  boys  to  combat  state- 
ments he  would  make  for  that 
purpose.  He  always  talked  at 
the  top  of  his  voice,  even  dis- 
turbing classes  in  adjacent 
rooms.  This  he  realized,  and 
would  apologize,  saying  he  was 
so  much  in  earnest. 

Because  he  was  not  a  pro- 
fessing Christian  he  refused  to 
ask  a  blessing  before  meals, 
but  did  not  object  to  conduct- 
ing prayer  service,  when  using 
some-  printed  form.  michael  m.  wiixiams. 

Prayers  were  then  held  at  6.30  a.  m.,  and  the  rule  was  that  those  who 
were  more  than  five  minutes  after  the  bell  could  not  enter  the  room,  and  the 
delinquents  suffered  some  punishment  for  their  tardiness.  Mr.  Blaine  himself 
was  not  fond  of  early  rising,  and  he  was  frequently  seen  running  downstairs, 
two  steps  at  a  time,  coat  and  vest  in  one  hand  and  collar  in  the  other. 

His  greatest  interest  was  in  mathematics,  his  classes  in  geometr)'  and 
algebra  receiving  the  most  attention.  Two  incidents  of  this  geometry  class 

In  a  public  examination  of  the  class  Michael  was  called  upon  to  state  a 
simple  proposition.     This  he  failed    to    do    properly.      Mr.   Blaine    went    around 



the  class  and  returning  to  Michael  again,  asked  him,  with  the  same  result. 
At  the  close  of  the  examination  Mr.  Blaine  met  Michael  and  said,  "  Michael, 
you  have  made  an  ass  of  yourself.  Mrs.  Blaine's  history  class  comes 
to-morrow  and  if  you  don't  answer  creditably  I'll  score  you."  Mrs.  Blaine 
hearing  this,  took  Michael  that  afternoon,  and  to  save  him  from  punishment, 
reviewed  the  ground  they  had  been  over,  with  the  result  of  a  satisfactory 
examination,  much  to  the  gratification  of  all  concerned. 

The  second  one  is  as  follows  : — Wishing  to  make  a  tangible  demonstration 
of  a  proposition,  in  his  impetuous  way  he  took  out  his  knife  and  commenced 
cutting  the  figure  into  a  desk.  One  of  the  pupils  remonstrated  saying  they 
were  told  not  to  destroy  institution  property.  He  replied,  '  The  car  of 
knowledge  must  ride  over  all  obstacles."  Of  this  same  pupil  he  said,  in  con- 
versation with  Mr.  George  W.  Childs,  nearly  forty  years  afterwards  (1891), 
"If  David  Wood  had  not  been  afflicted  he  would  have  been  one  of  the  greatest 
mathematicians  of  the  age.  But  what  the  world  has  lost  in  that  direction  it 
has  gained  in  music."  (Mr.  Wood,  although  entirely  blind,  is  the  leading 
organist  in   Philadelphia.) 

Mr.  Blaine  retained  his  interest  in  the  school  long  after  he  left  it,  and 
for  years  would  visit  there,  asking  about  all  his  old  pupils,  remembering  their 
names  and  characteristics.  When  the  press  of  public  affairs  became  so  great 
that  this  was  impracticable,  he  even  then  showed  where  his  interest  lay,  when 
as  Secretary  of  State  under  Garfield,  he  gave  to  an  officer  of  the  school,  who 
was  going  abroad  to  examine  into  the  European  methods  of  instructing  the 
blind,  a  letter  to  the  consular  and  diplomatic  officers  of  the  United  States 
abroad,  commending  the  bearer  to  their  attention. 

At  one  time  the  boys,  while  attempting  to  play  a  prank  upon  a  half- 
witted boy,  succeeded  in  frightening  Mrs.  Blaine,  who  called  loudly  for  Mr. 
Blaine.  He  came,  discovered  the  culprits,  and  promised  to  punish  them. 
They  apologized  to  Mrs.  Blaine,  who  interceded,  and  saved  them  from 

We  have  the  pleasure  in  this  connection  of  inserting  what  must  prove  of 
interest  not  a  little  to  the  reader;  namely,  a  correct  cut  of  the  Pennsylvania 
Institution  for  the  Blind,  where  Mr.  Blaine  taught,  and  more  particularly,  a 
fac-simile  of  his  letter  of  resignation  from  the  institution.  This  we  have  obtained 
from  the  files  for  the  purpose  of  reproduction.  The  letter  is  not  less  admirable 
for  the  steady  and  elegant  hand  in  which  it  is  written,  than  for  the  essential 
propriety  of  the  terms  in  which  it  is   couched. 

The  Pennsylvania  Institution  for  the  Blind  was  founded  in  1834.  The 
fiftieth  anniversary  of  the  school  was  celebrated  on  March  5,  18S4.  It  was  the 
second    institution    of   the    kind  to  be  established    in    the  United   States.        The 

*  For  the  foregoing  interesting  account  of  Blaine's  life  in  the  Philadelphia  Institution  for  the  Instruction 
of  the  Blind,  and  in  particular  for  that  part  which  relates  to  the  story  of  Michael  Williams  and  Blaine's  friendship 
for  him,  we  are  indebted  to  Mr.  Frank  Battles,  afterwards  an  instructor  in  the  Institution  and  Principal  of  it  for 
many  years. 


».  ^^  <X—  ^^- 


a?*zt*.4?iu-    s?f  z5t£s>     ^e^. 

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60  LIFE   AND   WORK   OF  JAMES   G.    BLAINE. 

Boston  Institute  was  founded  in  1S33.  It  was,  at  the  beginning,  a  private 
enterprise,  and  the  school  was  conducted  for  a  while  in  a  rented  house.  The 
State  at  length  took  up  the  cause  and  made  for  the  support  of  the  school 
an  annual  contribution.  Endowments  have  been  given  by  private  friends  ;  so 
that  in  this  way  or  in  that  the  Pennsylvania  Institution  has  lived  and  flourished 
to  the  present    time. 

Though  it  appears  that  Blaine  devoted  himself  assiduously  to  the  duties  of 
his  instructorship  he,  nevertheless,  found  outside  opportunity  for  his  now  cherished 
project  of  becoming  a  lawyer.  He  continued  to  dip  into  the  law  books  during  his 
whole  stay  of  two  years  in  Philadelphia,  and  thus  prepared  himself  for  admission 
to  the  bar.  He  was  not,  however,  at  this  time,  admitted,  nor  did  he  make  appli- 
cation for  such  privilege.  But  he  got  ready  for  the  larger  and  freer  work  of  the 
open  arena.  With  the  close  of  the  school  year  (1853-54)  he  presented  his  resig- 
nation and  retired  from  the  institution,  where  he   had  done  such  efficient  service. 

With  respect  to  Blaine's  preparation  as  a  lawyer,  we  have  some  interesting 
testimony  furnished  by  Dr.  George  Edward  Reed,  president  of  Dickinson 
College.  In  a  letter  to  the  author,  he  says :  "  I  have  made  inquiry  as  to  the 
alleged  fact  that  Mr.  Blaine  studied  law  in  Carlisle.  Mr.  John  Hays,  leading 
attorney  here,  gives  the  following  statement :  '  James  G.  Blaine  never  read  law 
in  Carlisle  and  never  visited  the  town  more  than  half  a  dozen  times  in  his 
life,  chiefly  as  the  guest  of  the  late  Colonel  James  W.  Bosler,  who  spent 
largely  his  time  and  money  to  secure  Blaine's  nomination  for  the  presidency 
at  Cincinnati.  He  is  said  to  have  read  law  during  his  leisure  hours  under 
Theodore  Cuyler,  Esq.,  of  Philadelphia,  while  teaching  there  in  the  Pennsyl- 
vania Institution  for  the  Instruction  of  the  Blind.  It  was  in  Philadelphia  that 
he  made  a  study  of  the  law.'  " 

Now  it  was  that  the  question  of  location  came  up  for  final  decision.  A  man 
may  not  live  in  many  places,  but  rather  in  one.  The  strong  desire  of  Mrs. 
Blaine  to  return  to  her  old  home  and  to  make  their  residence  there  prevailed, 
and  with  the  close  of  his  services  in  Philadelphia,  James  G.  Blaine,  then  but 
twenty-four  years  of  age,  set  his  face  to  the  East,  to  become  the  most  distinguished 
citizen  of  his  adopted  State. 

It  only  remains,  before  following  the  young  family  back  to  Augusta,  to  note 
another  quality  of  Blaine's  activities  to  which  we  have  not  thus  far  had  occasion 
to  refer.  This  was  his  disposition  to  employ  the  pen.  Notwithstanding  the 
strong  bias  of  his  mind  towards  public  speaking,  towards  argumentation  and  all 
forensic  production,  he  nevertheless,  had  an  innate  passion  for  the  pen.  From 
his  boyhood  he  wrote  well  and  easily.  It  was  his  habit.  He  caught  the  usual 
desire  for  print,  and  while  in  Philadelphia  began  that  fascinating  but  dangerous 
work  of  writing  for  the  papers.  He  was  an  early  beginner  in  the  contributors' 
column  and  presently  rose  to  the  dignity  of  the  editorial.  It  would  be  interesting 
indeed  if  we  might  recover  from  the  obscurity  of  the  unknown  his  first 

LIFE   AND   WORK   OF  JAMES   G.    BLAINE.  61 

It  would  appear  that,  before  resigning  his  place  in  the  Philadelphia  Insti- 
tution for  the  Instruction  of  the  Blind,  Blaine  had  entered  into  correspondence 
with  friends  at  Augusta,  relative  to  a  removal  to  that  city  and  to  the  establish- 
ment of  an  editorial  connection.  The  Stanwood  relatives,  at  that  place,  interested 
themselves  in  the  plan.  Mrs.  Blaine  has  had  the  reputation  of  political  talents 
and  abilities  for  bringing  things  to  pass.  At  any  rate,  she  succeeded  in  her 
purpose,  and  the  removal  to  Maine  was  decided.  It  is  evident,  from  an  expression 
in  Blaine's  resignation  from  his  school,  that  he  had  already  made  arrangements 
for  an  editorial  partnership  in  Augusta.  It  cannot  be  doubted  that  the  oppor- 
tunity offered  by  a  newspaper  for  communicating  directly  with  the  people,  for 
influencing  them  and  for  gaining  popularity,  was  most  agreeable  to  the  brilliant 
young  man,  who  had  now  spent  nearly  seven  years  in  teaching.  It  is  in 
evidence  that  he  welcomed  the  chance  for  a  journalistic  connection  with  enthu- 
siasm and  flung  himself  into  the  swim,  escaping  gladly  from  the  somewhat 
narrow  but  interesting  life  of  a  professorship. 

Before  following  Blaine  to  Augusta,  we  may  note,  with  some  interest,  the 
probable  results  of  such  a  change  in  location.  The  public  life  of  the  United 
States  is,  in  its  personnel,  largely  influenced  by  State  boundaries.  It  is  also 
determined  somewhat  by  the  position  of  men  with  respect  to  the  centre  and 
circumference  of  the  United  States.  Again  it  is  determined,  as  we  have  seen 
strongly  illustrated  in  recent  years,  by  the  predominance  and  distribution  of 
political  sentiment  in  certain  of  our  commonwealths. 

It  cannot  be  doubted  that  a  position  geographically  central  is  advantageous 
to  a  young  man  entering  public  life.  It  is  advantageous  to  him  through  his 
whole  career.  The  Mississippi  Valley  is,  in  this  regard,  a  favorite  field  for 
political  activity.  The  next  consideration,  determinative  of  a  choice  for  a 
young  statesman,  is  that  of  the  populousness  of  the  States  respectively.  The 
great  State  is  a  much  more  favorable  situation  than  the  small  State.  This  is 
said  alike  of  territorial  area  and  of  population.  There  can  be  no  doubt  that 
such  States  as  Rhode  Island,  Delaware  and  even  New  Jersey  are  seriously 
disparaged  as  scenes  of  political  ambition.  On  the  other  hand,  New  York, 
Pennsylvania,  Ohio,  Illinois  and  Kansas  are  natural  battle-grounds  for  great 
ambitions.  The  circumference  of  the  Union  is  not  favorable  for  the  emplace- 
ment of  American  statesmanship.  The  man  of  the  border  is  put  at  a 
disadvantage.  It  is  difficult  for  him  to  gather  the  geographical  relations  and 
statistical  forces  of  politics  into  his  hands.  He  seems  to  be  against  the 
horizon.  He  does  not  loom  up  as  a  central  figure — at  least  not  easily.  When 
California  shall  become  greatly  potential  in  our  system,  it  must  be  by  means 
of  a  great  population,  great  territorial  extent  and  great  wealth — all  these  as 
against  the  disadvantage  of  her  remote  situation. 

But  we  must  also  consider  the  distribution  and  peculiar  accumulations  of 
political  sentiment  in  the  different  States.  A  State  strongly  devoted  politically 
to  the  one  or  the  other  of  the  great  parties,  having  a  tremendous  majority    for 


the  one  or  the  other,  has  some  advantages  in  the  contest,  but  it  also  has 
great  disadvantages.  It  has  an  advantage  in  this,  that  after  a  man  has  once 
clearly  come  to  the  ascendant,  he  has  behind  him  a  certain  and  unbreakable 
political  phalanx  upon  which  he  may  depend  almost  recklessly  for  support 
and  power.  The  leader  in  an  uncertain  State,  where  the  political  margin  is 
narrow,  can  have  no  such  confidence.  He  can  have  no  such  audacity.  The 
leader  in  a  close  State  is  cautious,  prudent,  reserved.  The  leader  in  a  State 
where  the  majority  is  great  is  bold,  aggressive,  audacious,  radical. 

The  sum  of  advantages,  however,  is  distinctly  in  favor  of  the  doubtful 
State.  No  fact  in  our  political  evolution  has  proved  to  be  more  potent  in 
these  high  days  than  the  pivotal  State.  It  is,  in  instances  not  a  few,  a 
political  fortune  to  be  born  in  a  doubtful  State.  To  be  doubtful  introduces  an 
element  into  the  political  battle  which  makes  the  doubtful  point  of  greatest 
value  to  the  contestants.  In  the  doubtful  States  even  mediocrity  may  have 
fame.  In  the  ninth  decade  we  saw  the  political  importance  of  Ohio  and 
Indiana  reversed  in  the  general  contest,  by  the  fact  that  the  latter  was  a 
doubtful  and  the  former  a  certain  State.  For  a  quarter  of  a  century  Ohio  had 
been  laying  her  cloak  over  the  Hoosier  State  and  by  her  momentum  and 
reputation  carrying  off  the  prizes  and  spoils  of  the  battlefield.  But  when 
Indiana  became  pivotal,  she  suddenly  rose  to  the  place  of  central  interest. 
The  great  majorities  of  the  dominant  party  in  Ohio,  Illinois  and  Michigan 
were  overlooked  in  the  political  management,  in  order  that  the  smallest  of  the 
Central  Western  States  might  be  courted  and  sought  for  at  the  tourney. 

All  of  these  considerations  have  had  weight  in  determining  the  destinies 
of  our  public  men.  Each  has  had  his  locus.  From  some  particular  district 
in  some  particular  State  he  has  had  to  rise  or  to  fail  in  the  effort  at  rising. 
On  the  whole,  James  G.  Blaine  was  not  well  emplaced.  True,  he  became 
easily  a  leader  in  a  State  most  strongly  jievoted  to  his  political  principles  and 
enthusiastically  devoted  to  himself.  Of  a  certainty  we  do  not  say  that  he  had 
no  rivalries  against  him.  That  were  very  far  from  true.  During  his  whole 
career,  aspirants  arose  to  contest  with  him  the  palm  of  primacy.  None  was 
able,  at  any  time,  to  take  away  his  laurel ;    but  many  would  fain  have  done  it. 

In  the  next  place,  we  note  that  Maine,  in  addition  to  her  remote  position 
on  the  borders  of  the  Republic,  is  a  small  State  and,  therefore,  lacking  in 
political  momentum.  Such  a  fact  ought  not  to  count  in  great  contests,  but  it 
does  count  in  American  politics — as  things  go.  It  is  easy  to  see  that,  in  a 
contest  otherwise  equal  between  a  statesman  of  Maine  and  a  statesman  of  New 
York  or  Ohio,  the  advantage  would  be  largely  in  favor  of  the  latter.  Blaine 
had  the  advantage  of  a  strong  and  compact  political  majority  in  his  common- 
wealth* but  otherwise  he  was  obliged  to  advance  into  the  arena  as  if  from  a 
distance.  If  Garfield  reached  the  presidency  and  Blaine  did  not,  we  must'  charge 
up  the  result,  in  part  at  least,  to  the  geopraphical  and  political  conditions  which 
we  have  here  portrayed.     If  Harrison  gained  the  White  House  and    Blaine  did 

LIFE   AND   WORK   OF  JAMES   G.    BLAINE.  63 

not,  we  must  remember  that  the  former  had  the  great  advantage  of  a  pivotal 
and  doubtful  State  in  his  interest,  while  the  latter  must  make  battle  from  the 
northeastern  corner,  far  removed,  and  with  a  State  behind  him,  of  which  the 
politician  sayeth,  "Oh,  Maine  will  take  care  of  herself;  no  need  of  worrying 
about  Maine." 

x\t  the  middle  of  the  sixth  decade,  when  the  possible  young  statesman  was 
making  his  exit  from  the  Philadelphia  Institution,  the  forces  and  principles 
which  we  have  here  enunciated  were  not  yet  in  full  play.  The  old  leadership 
of  the  Republic  was  determined  by  other  conditions.  Webster  was  Webster, 
without  much  regard  to  the  State  from  which  he  issued.  Calhonu  was  Calhoun, 
from  wheresoever  hailing.  Clay  was  Clay,  and  Jackson  was  Jackson,  with  only 
slight  reference  to  the  sections  of  the  Republic  from  which  they  came.  In  a 
large  sense  Webster  stood  for  New  England.  In  an  equally  large  sense.  Clay 
stood  for  the  West.  In  like  manner,  Calhoun  spoke  for  the  South  and  fur  the 
doctrines  which  the  South  represented. 

All  these  leaders  were  recently  dead.  Clay  and  Webster  went  away  ;  the 
first,  when  young  Blaine  entered  the  Philadelphia  Institution  ;  and  the  other, 
four  months  later.  Calhoun  died  just  before  Blaine's  majority  or  while  the 
latter  was  teaching  mathematics  to  the  boys  of  the  academy  at  Blue  Lake  Springs. 
It  was  like  the  fall  of  three  great  trees  from  a  forest  of  smaller  growth.  But 
what  we  are  here  saying  is  that  the  old  style  of  personal  leadership  would  no 
longer  avail  after  the  middle  of  the  century.  True,  the  elements  of  that  leader- 
ship must  still  survive.  But  these  elements  must  be  reinforced  with  other 
conditions,  in  order  to  obtain  the  undisputed  mastery  which  the  old  leaders  had 
held  in  the  public  arena. 

We  thus  see  that  Blaine  was  both  advantaged  and  disadvantaged  in  his 
removal  to  Maine.  In  Augusta,  at  that  time,  the  leading  newspaper  was  the 
Kennebec  Joitrn  a  I.  Its  editor  was  Joseph  Baker,  a  lawyer  of  ability  and  character. 
The  paper  was  a  weekly,  but  during  the  winter  season,  when  the  alternate 
sessions  of  the  Maine  Legislature  were  on,  there  was  a  tri-weekly  edition. 
Baker,  the  proprietor  and  editor,  desired  to  contract  a  partnership  with  some 
one,  who  should  assist  him  in  his  editorial  work.  He  was  himself  more  of  a 
lawyer  than  an  editor.  The  likelihood  is  that  he  desired  to  remit  into  other 
hands  the  greater  part  of  his  editorial  work.  It  was  a  knowledge  of  this  open 
place  in  the  editorship  of  the  Kennebec  Journal  that  induced  Blaine  to  leave 
his  professorship  in  Philadelphia  and  to  make  Augusta  his  future  home.  This 
he  did  in  the  summer  of  1854.  At  this  time  he  was  in  his  twenty-fifth  year. 
The  name  of  Joseph  Baker,  at  the  head  of  the  editorial  column,  was  replaced 
with  "  Baker  &  Blaine,"  and  the  junior  partner  was  launched  in  that  enterprise 
which  was  destined  to  lead  him,  with  rapid  advances,  to  reputation  and  influence. 

The  evolution  of  the  political  life  in  America  has  brought  into  clear  relief 
one  fact,  and  that  is,  that  the  legal  life,  the  political  life  and  the  editorial  life  are 
closely  interwoven.      It  is  possible  that  one  of  these  may  run  by  itself.      There 


UJ.1J  |  1  | 

: *£&- 

i  kvx  q  « 






are  great  lawyers — even  the  greatest — who  are  not  either  editors  or  politicians. 
There  have  been  great  political  leaders  who  were  not  editors  and,  in  some 
instances,  not  lawyers.  There  have  been  great  editors — though  rarely — who  have 
not  been  either  politicians  or  lawyers.  But  for  the  most  part,  the  three  pro- 
fessions run  together.  The  public  man  in  America  has  something  of  all  three 
in  him.  He  who  begins  as  a  politician  merely  generally  runs  into  law,  and, 
at  least,  avails  himself  of  editorial  support.  He  who  begins  at  law  generally 
looks  to  political  preferment.  He  who  begins  as  editor  generally  looks  to 
becoming  a  political  leader  himself,  or  else  to  a  rank  and  influence  which  will 
enable  him  to  make  or  unmake  leaders  with  the  wave  of  his   hand. 

Blaine  was,  as  we  have  seen,  excellently  equipped  for  the  career  on  which 
he  was  now  to  enter.  He  was  a  good  scholar;  Washington  College  had  fitted 
him  well  with  general  discipline  for  almost  any  kind  of  intellectual  pursuit. 
He  had,  by  his  own  application,  fitted  himself  still  better  for  intellectual  leader- 
ship. The  fact  is  that  Blaine  had,  from  his  youth,  a  great  and  active  mind. 
His  seven  years'  experience  in  the  teaching  profession,  with  the  coincident  study 
of  many  things,  at  a  time  when  the  dying  halo  of  the  old  personal  leadership 
shone  around  him  with  the  golden  and  red  effulgence  of  sunset,  had  still  further 
prepared  him  for  that  arena  into  which  he  now  entered  by  the  editorial 
room  of  an  Augusta  newspaper.  There  we  see  him  established  on  the  tripod, 
in  the  fall  of  1S54,  and  there  we  note  him  as  a  tyro  maker  of  public  opinion. 

We  should  here  mark  with  particularity,  the  then  condition  of  public  opinion 
in  the  United  States.  It  was  the  true  beginning  of  a  great  epoch.  Blaine  was 
happily  in  at  the  start.  The  period  was  transitional.  An  astonishing  thing  was 
happening  in  the  party  life  of  the  United  States.  The  great  Whig  organization  was 
in  articulo  mortis.  Its  expiring  throes  were  witnessed  with  wonder.  It  seemed  to 
die  without  the  stroke  of  man.  Certainly  the  Democratic  victory  of  1S52,  which 
had  raised  Pierce  to  the  presidency  over  General  Scott,  was  no  sufficient  excuse 
to  the  Whig  party  for  dying,  or  even  for  desiring  to  die.  We  might  well  add, 
what  object  or  motive  could  that  great  party  assign  for  its  sudden  passion  of 
death  ?  It  became  enamored  of  death,  and  nothing  would  suffice  it  but  to  expire. 
The  Democratic  party  had  a  more  tenacious  vitality.  It  possessed,  within  its 
heart,  contending  spirits,  which  were  destined  soon  to  rend  it  with  more  than 
mortal  fame.     But  the  Democracy  was  not  ambitious  to   die. 

Meanwhile,  as  compensatory  of  political  dissolution  in  the  one  party  and 
political  travail  in  the  other,  the  American  or  Knownothing  organization 
appeared — strangest  political  phenomenon  and  most  short-lived  of  any  of  its  kind. 
Certainly  it  never  had  a  fellow  in  brevity  and  sudden  bursting.  It  rose  like 
Jonah's  gourd  by  night,  and  in  the  morning  it  withered. 

When  Blaine  went  to  Augusta,  Knownothingism  was  rampant.       It  had  a 

germ  of   extreme    truth  and    virtue  in  it.       It  was  resolved,  "  To  know  nothing 

but  the  American    Union."       That  kind  of   patriotism    had    merit   and  purpose. 

But  it  was  also  resolved    to    have    "  America  for  Americans — that,  and  nothing 



else."  It  was  to  be  a  prevailing  fact  to  have  been  born  in  this  happy  country. 
It  was  to  become  an  insuperable  thing  to  have  been  born  in  any  other  country. 
There  was  to  be  a  monopoly  of  patriotism  and  preferment  on  the  line  of 
American  birth.  No  foreigners  need  apply  for  anything.  In  the  face  of  the 
fact  that  so  large  a  percentage  of  the  American  people  were  either  mediately  or 
immediately  deduced  from  foreign  blood,  all  was  to  be  ignored  and  disclaimed. 
One's  Irish  or  German  parentage  was  to  be  sworn  against  as  a  thing  that  never 
was  and  never  could  have  been. 

So  the  wave  of  Americanism  went  over  us,  and  then  subsided.  But  iu  the 
meantime  another  question  of  more  durable  character  and  more  humane  interest, 
destined  to  roll  and  surge  like  an  ocean  around  all  the  shores  of  thought  and 
to  work  the  greatest  transformation  in  the  society  of  the  New  World,  arose, 
not  indeed  of  the  will  of  man,  but  of  a  power  above  man,  and  would  not  be 
quieted  until  it  was  solved  with  the  sword.  It  was  the  question  of  human 
bondage — a  question  as  old  as  the  first  victory  of  the  human  brute  over  his 
fellow,  when  he  beat  him  down  and  made  him  his  bondman. 

Negro  slavery  had  come  into  the  United  States  and  possessed  it.  It  had 
dominated  the  Government.  It  had  become  vast,  prodigious,  awful  in  the 
darkness  of  its  visage,  portentous  in  its  voice  and  prophecy.  Strange  that 
the  battle  with  it  should  have  begun  far  off  beyond  the  Missouri  and  the 
Kaw,  on  the  blossoming  prairies  of  Kansas.  There,  historical  conditions 
had  been  carefully  prepared,  which  must  break  with  the  first  splash  of  blood. 
There,  the  border-men  of  freedom  and  the  border-men  of  slavery  made  an' 
issue  and  fought.  The  servants  of  Abraham  and  the  servants  of  Lot 
contended  and  prevailed  not  either. 

The  year  1854  saw  all  this — and  more.  It  was  a  time  of  beginning.  Seeds 
were  sown  in  every  soil,  the  germination  and  springing  up  of  which  none  could 
well  foretell.  On  the  whole,  the  sentiment  in  the  American  heart  divided 
deep  down  in  its  chambers  on  the  question  of  freedom  and  slaver}'.  Everything 
was  inchoate  as  yet.  The  publication  of  "  Uncle  Tom's  Cabin  "  was  a  declara- 
tion of  war.  Helper's  "  Impending  Crisis  "  was  another  declaration  ;  but  neither 
the  one  book  nor  the  other  was  so  reckoned.  The  New  York  Tribune,  with  its 
bald-headed  philanthropist,  flushed  in  every  feature  with  all  the  passions  of 
humanity,  was  war  !  Many  things  were  war ;  but  no  man  laid  it  to  heart.  It 
was  thought  to  be  only  contention.  Kansas  was  a  contention.  The  Fugitive 
Slave  Law  was  a  contention.  Other  things  have  passed  away ;  these  also  will 
pass  with  the  morrow. 

The  voice  of  the  abolitionist  was  heard  in  the  land,  and  many  people 
loved  him  :  but  they  lied,  and  said  they  hated  him.  He  is  not  the  first  man 
whom  the  world  has  loved  saying  that  it  hated  him.  The  declaration  of  hatred 
is  a  strong  attestation  of  love.  Snch  is  the  contradiction  of  man-life  and  man- 
heart  in  the  world.  It  says  one  thing  and  feels  another.  It  would  be  interest- 
ing to  know  whether  James  G.  Blaine,  not  yet  twenty-five  years  of  age,  sitting  at 



his  desk  in  the  Kennebec  Journal  office  and  writing  his  first  editorial,  was  an 
abolitionist.  Was  he  or  was  he  not?  Of  course,  he  would  disavow  it. 
Perhaps  his  disavowal  would  be  honest ;  but  it  would  probably  be  as  false  as 
it  was  honest. 

Among  the  many  things  now  about  to  be  born  was  a  new  political  party. 
The  coming  of  civilization  was,  for  a  long  time,  marked  only  with  physical 
contests.  At  length  the  mental  contest  began,  but  the  physical  contest  did  not 
immediately  abandon  the  field.  It  has  not  yet  abandoned  the  field.  Another 
century  may  still  see  men  more  interested  in  a  visible  than  in  an  invisible 
struggle.  Out  of 
the  physical  contest 
arose  the  strongly 
accented  political 
disposition  of  the 
peoples  of  Western 
Europe  of  America. 
As  the  physical  con- 
test began  to  die 
awa}r,  that  second- 
ary form  of  battle, 
called  politics,  took 
its  place.  Thus  the 
modern  man  became 
a  political  animal, 
and  such  he  remains 
to-day.  He  and  his 
fellows  divide  about 
something  or  no- 
thing, arrange  them- 
selves in  lines, 
appoint  the  captains, 
get  the  flags,  invent 
a  shibboleth,  and  go 

to  battle.  They  intend  to  make  carnage  and  have  spoils.  The  carnage  is  not 
so  much  of  bodies  as  of  reputations,  and  the  spoils  are  not  the  stripped-off 
shields  and  helmets,  the  wealth  of  the  sacked  villages  and  the  treasures  of 
rural  granaries,  as  they  are  the  emoluments  of  office  and  the  extraction,  from 
vast  unseen  pockets  in  the  dark,  of  such  riches  and  power  as  organization 
appropriates  for  itself  and  passes  down  by  entail  and  official  primogeniture. 

Therefore,  out  of  one  party  there  must  come  another.  Rather  the  second 
must  come  against  the  first.  While  the  present  frame  continues,  there  will  be 
two  parties  in  the  State — two  at  least,  and  perhaps  several  others.  The  day  of 
virtue  and  revival  is  that  in  which  the  new  party  is  born.      One    of  the    most 

blainb's  editorial  desk. 


instructive  aspects  of  modern  society  is  that  which  shows  both  the  old  parties, 
or  the  fragments  of  them,  combining  after  their  years  of  antagonism,  hatred 
and  fight,  to  crush  the  new  and  to  decry  it  as  the  common  enemy.  Thus 
came  the  new  Republican  party.  It  was  the  voice  of  one  crying  in  the 
wilderness,  saying,  "  Prepare  ye  the  way  of  the  Lord!  make  his  paths  straight!" 
Never,  in  our  times,  has  there  been  such  another  birth.  With  it  came 
redemption  and  promise.  This  is  not  said  of  that  party  as  it  now  stands  after 
the  lapse  of  thirty-eight  years.     But  it  is  said  of  the  original  insurrection. 

James  G.  Blaiue  was  one  of  the  insurgents.  This  shall  be  said  to  his 
honor.  Of  all  the  questions  that  were  then  current  among  the  American 
people,  be  found  interest  and  vitality  in  the  one  great  question  of  freedom  and 
slaver}^.  Of  course,  the  freedom  was  not  openly  and  absolutely  avowed.  Nobody 
except  the  abolitionist  openly  and  absolutely  declared  for  truth  and  right. 
Only  he  had  the  courage  to  denounce  as  essentially  vicious  and  criminal  that 
whole  dark  system  of  human  bondage  that  rested  like  a  pall  on  one-half  of 
the  Union.  But  the  young  Republicans  were  at  heart  in  sympathy  with  the 
abolitionists.  They  were  themselves  potential  abolitionists.  They  were 
destined  to  become  such  at  no  very  remote  day.  Of  these  the  young  editor  of 
the  Kennebec  Journal  was  one.  Of  all  the  subjects  which  he  wrote  about  and 
contended  about,  the  issue  of  freedom  for  the  Territories  and  of  slavery 
restriction  by  a  policy  of  hostility  to  the  institution  on  the  part  of  the 
Government,  was  the  question  which  most  aroused  his  energies  and  called 
forth  his  passion. 

Blaine,  in  all  places  and  in  all  parts  of  his  career,  left  behind  him  a 
strong  tradition.  That  which  grew  up  in  his  track  at  Augusta,  in  the  early 
days  after  his  settlement  there,  was  that  he  knew  everybody,  and  everybody 
knew  him.  There  was  nothing  of  the  editorial  recluse  about  such  a  man. 
He  wrote  and  went  abroad  by  turns.  He  plunged  into  everything.  He 
warmed  up  the  town,  and  the  town  took  his  temperature. 

Another  feature  of  the  early  editorial  situation  was  that  of  the  intellectual 
surroundings.  New  England  has  ever  been  the  home  of  intelligence.  The 
"  Province  of  Maine,"  being  an  outlying  skirt  of  Massachusetts,  was  not 
behind  in  the  particular  referred  to.  The  villagers  and  townsfolk  of  that 
commonwealth  could  think  and  talk.  It  was  their  manner  to  be  exacting 
with  their  instructors.  He  who  preached  to  them  must  preach  something  and 
do  it  well,  or  else  come  to  book  for  his  failure.  He  who  wrote  for  them  must 
in  like  manner  write  well  and  instructively  or  be  left  out. 

Blaine's  accession  to  the  editorial  rank  was  at  a  time  when  the  old, 
labored  and  interminable  newspaper  dissertation  was  going  out,  and  the  new 
crisp  paragraph  was  coming  in.  The  young  editor  of  the  Kennebec  Journal 
caught  at  the  change  and  adopted  the  new  style  of  sharp  and  pungent  writing. 
In  such  a  situation  he  durst  not  give  himself  up  to  the  change  so  freely  as 
was    done    in    the    West,    where    editorial    writing    became    as    boisterous    and 


reckless    as    it   was    pointed.      In    New    England    the    editor    must   continue   to 
be  urbane,  however  sharply  he  might  write. 

The  files  of  the  Kennebec  Journal  still  exist  with  the  pennon  of  "  Baker 
&  Blaine "  flying  at  the  head.  In  these  old  files  the  incipient  statesmanship 
of  James  G.  Blaine  is  to  be  discovered.  It  has  been  our  fortune  to  extract 
from  the  mass  of  the  young  editor's  productions  certain  parts  which  now,  after 
the  lapse  of  thirty-seven  years,  will,  if  we  mistake  not,  be  perused  with 
interest  by  man}-  people. 

The  first  extract  which  we  shall  here  present  is  an  editorial  on  Honorable 
Hannibal  Hamlin,  at  that  time  Senator  of  the  United  States  from  Maine. 
Hamlin  had  been  and  still  was  a  Democrat.  As  such  he  had  been  following 
the  lead  of  his  party  up  to  a  point  beyond  which  he  would  not  go.  The 
break  came  and  the  Senator  began  to  be  a  Republican.  The  following  editorial 
presents  the  views  of  Blaine  on  the  rebellion  of  Hamlin  against  the  dictation 
of  his  part}' : — 

{From  the  Kennebec  Journal,  June  20,  1856.) 


The  remarks  of  this  gentleman  in  the  United  States  Senate  last  week,  a 
brief  synopsis  of  which  we  publish  under  the  congressional  head,  are  highly 
gratifying  to  the  friends  of  freedom  throughout  the  country.  They  are  such 
that  the  people  of  Maine  had  the  right  to  expect  from  him,  and  as  in  accord 
with  his   past  views  on  the  great  issues   that  now  agitate  the  country. 

Those  who  supposed  Mr.  Hamlin  would  support  James  Buchanan  on  a 
platform  so  anarchical  and  sweepingly  pro-slavery  as  the  one  put  forth  at  Cin- 
cinnati, have  blindly  reckoned  without  their  host,  and  shown  that  they  did  not 
understand  his  real  character.  Mr.  Hamlin  sees  what  every  intelligent  and 
candid  man  will  acknowledge,  that  the  Democratic  party  of  Jackson,  Van 
Buren  and  Wright  is  no  longer  in  existence,  that  what  now  goes  by  that 
name  is  a  new  organization  composed  of  the  worst  materials  of  all  former 
parties,  drawn  and  held  together  by  the  hope  of  power  and  plunder,  demanding 
no  passport  of  admission  and  no  pledge  of  party  fidelity  but  devotion  to  the 
interests  of   slavery. 

The  party  is  now  a  mere  standing  army,  a  Swiss  guard,  for  protection 
and  aggressive  purposes  of  the  slave-holding  oligarchy.  He,  therefore,  takes  his 
stand  with  Bryant,  Emmet,  Blair,  Butler,  Trumbull,  Banks  and  other  tried 
and  leading  men  of  the  Democratic  party,  in  that  new  and  vigorous  organiza- 
tion which  has  so  rapidly  sprung  into  existence  to  rescue  Liberty  and  the  Union 
from  the  dangers  that  now  imperil  them.  His  course  will  be  sustained  by  the 
people  of  this  State  in  a  most  unmistakable  manner,  and  his  bold  words  that 
he  will  use  all  the  power  which  God  has  given  him  against  the  enemies  of  the 
Republic  who  march  under  the  Douglas  flag  have  sent  a  thrill  of  joy  to 
the  hearts  of  true  men  all  over  the  land. 

70  LIFE   AND   WORK   OF  JAMES   G.    BLAINE. 

This  was  followed  on  the  eighteenth  of  July,  by  an  editorial  entitled  "  The 
Truth  about  the  Topeka  Constitution": — 

{From  the  Weekly  Kennebec  Journal,  July  18,  iSj6.) 

The  following  letter  will  explain  itself.  It  was  deemed  necessary  in  order 
to  correct  a  gross  misstatement  made  current    by  the  Age  and    kindred  papers. 

B.  A.  G.  Fuller,  Esq.  New  JOURNAI*  °FFICE'  JuLY  I4'  ^ 

Dear  Sir  : — I  observe  that  in  the  Age  of  the  tenth  instant,  when  speak- 
ing of  the  bill  recently  passed  by  the  United  States  House  of  Representatives 
admitting  Kansas  with  the  Topeka  Constitution,  you  intimate  that  that  consti- 
tution contains    a  provision — 

"  Declaring  that  free  negroes,  whether  of  Maine,  Massachusetts,  or  elsewhere, 
shall  be  deprived  of  the  freedom  of  locating  themselves  in  the  free  Territory  of 
Kansas  for  all  time  to  come."  You  cannot  certainly  have  seen  a  copy  of  the 
Topeka  Constitution,  or  you  would  not  have  published  such  a  misstatement.  I 
take  pleasure  in  sending  you  herewith  Senate  Document  No.  32,  containing 
official  copies  of  the  memorials,  praying  for  the  admission  of  Kansas,  as  well  as 
of  the  constitution  accompanying  them.  Upon  examination  of  the  latter  you 
will  perceive  that  no  such  provision,  as  the  one  alluded  to  by  you,  is  contained 
in  it.  The  only  portions  of  the  instrument  which  bear  upon  the  subject  are  to 
be  found  in  the  sixth  and  twenty-first  sections  of  the  Bill  of  Rights  (marked), 
and  they  are  of  a  very  different  character  from  the  supposed  provisions  quoted  by 

Not  doubting  that  you  will  publicly  correct  the  manifest  error  into  which 
you  have  fallen,  and  into  which  you  may  lead  others — I  am  respectfully, 

Your  obedient  servant,  J.  G.  Blaine. 

The  two  sections  in  the  "  Bill  of  Rights  "  referred  to  are  as  follows  : — 

"  Section  6. — There  shall  be  no  slavery  in  this  State,  nor  involuntary  servi- 
tude, unless  for  punishment  of  crime. 

"Section  21. — No  indenture  of  any  negro  or  mulatto  made  and  executed 
out  of  the  bounds  of  the  State  shall  be  valid  within  the  State." 

In  response  to  the  above  letter,  which,  for  good  reasons,  we  deem  it  proper 
to  publish,  the  Age  of  this  week  attempts  to  "crawl  off"  from  its  original 
charge,  and  to  declare  now  that,  although  the  Topeka  Constitution  as  it  passed 
the  House  of  Representatives  contained  no  such  provision  as  the  one  alluded 
to,  it  nevertheless  originally  contained  it,  and  that  after  all,  the  official  copy  is 
but  a  mutilated  copy — lucid  statement  1 

The  truth  is,  that  no  such  provision  was  ever  incorporated  in  the  Kansas 
Constitution.  The  subject  of  excluding  negroes  was  discussed  in  the  Topeka 
Convention  as  a  proposition  independent  of  the  constitution  to  be  submitted  to 
a  vote  of  the  people,  and  their  decision,  if  affirmative,  to  act  as  instructions    to 


the  first  legislature  of  the  State  of  Kansas  to  pass  a  mere  enactment  to  that 
effect,  an  enactment  repealable  by  any  succeeding  legislature.  This  is  the  whole 
truth  about  this  matter,  and  we  trust  the  falsehood  is  finally  nailed  to  the  counter. 
On  the  eighth  of  August,  1S56,  the  State  Convention  of  the  Democratic 
party  was  held  at  Portland.  At  that  date  the  Democracy  in  the  States  of  the 
North  was  at  a  great  disadvantage  on  account  of  the  alleged  sympathy  between 
the  party  and  the  so-called  border  ruffians  of  Missouri  and  Kansas.  The 
Republicans  everywhere  put  the  Democrats  on  the  defensive  for  the  support 
which  the  latter  were  alleged  to  give  to  the  enemies  of  free  territory  and  the 
friends  of  slavery.  On  the  very  day  of  the  convention,  Blaine  published  in  his 
paper  the  following  editorial : — 

{From  the  Weekly  Kennebec  Journal,  August  8,  1856.) 



To-day  (Thursday)  the  "  Border  Ruffian,"  Democracy  ot  Maine — held  a 
grand  mass  convention  in  Portland  for  the  shameless  purpose  of  attempting 
to  intimidate  and  frighten  the  honest  voters  of  the  State  into  a  support  of  their 
odious  principles.  Unless  we  greatly  mistake  human  nature  the  base  attempt 
will  react  with  tremendous  force  on  the  bullying  and  brow-beating  political 
managers  who  have  resorted  to  it. 

The  chief  speakers  for  the  occasion  are  two  of  the  most  noted  pro-slavery 
leaders  in  the  Union,  Howell  Cobb,  of  Georgia,  and  J.  P.  Benjamin,  of  Louisiana. 
The  former  has  distinguished  himself  in  his  seat  in  Congress  the  present  session 
by  his  defence  of  the  murderer  Hubert  and  of  the  assassin  Brooks.  He  made 
a  very  lengthy  report  to  show  that  in  the  villainous  assault  on  Senator  Sumner 
Brooks  had  done  nothing  whatever  deserving  reprehension,  and  he  labored  to 
the  end  against  having  the  House  take  any  action  on  the  subject.  Cobb  and 
his  colleague,  A.  H.  Stephens,  are  the  real  "  bull-dogs  "  of  slavery,  who  continually 
and  persistently  revile  and  abuse  the  free  States,  and  it  is  nothing  less  than  a 
personal  insult  to  the  freemen  of  Maine  to  have  such  a  man  introduced  into 
the  State  to  lecture  them  on  their  political  duties.  The  other  man,  Benjamin, 
is  one  of  the  Senators  from  Louisiana,  and,  until  three  months  past,  a  Whig. 
Last  autumn  he  made  an  open  Disunion  speech  in  New  Orleans,  and  as  a 
matter  of  course,  immediately  joined  the  "  Border-Ruffian "  Democracy.  Dis- 
unionists  always  join  that  party.  We  believe,  also,  that  Mr.  Benjamin  unites 
with  his  colleague  Slidell  in  advocating  the  re-opening  of  the  African  slave 
trade.  This,  it  is  known,  is  a  favorite  idea  with  many  of  the  leading  Southern 
Democracy.  We  repeat  that  it  is  an  insult  to  the  people  of  Maine  to  introduce 
such  a  pair  of  men  as  Cobb  and  Benjamin  into  the  State,  and  the  desperate 
character  of  the  "  Border-Ruffian  "  party  is  shown  by  their  resorting  to  it.  The 
slave-drivers'  lash  is  to  be  cracked  in  our  ears  so  that  we  may  get  used  to  it 
in  time.    As  in  the  continued  success  of  the  "  Border-Ruffian  "  party  it  is  to  be 


heard  in  every  State  in  the  Union.  The  time  when  Toombs  is  to  call  the  roll 
of  his  slaves  from  the  foot  of  Bunker  Hill  Monument,  as  he  boasted  he  will, 
seems  to  be  rapidly  approaching. 

To  THIS  was  added,  one  week  later,  the  following : — 

(  Weekly  Kennebec  Journal,  August  75,   1S56.) 


At  the  Disunion  "  Border-Ruffian  "  Convention  in  Portland  last  week,  both 
flags  over  the  speakers'  stand  had  eighteen'  stars  each.  It  has  been  well 
suggested  that  this  is  emblematic  of  the  Southern  Republic  with  the  fifteen 
slave  States.  Kansas  conquered  Utah  with  polygamy  and  slavery  and  Cuba 
annexed.  This  is  known  to  be  a  favorite  idea  with  the  Southern  Democrats, 
but  we  hardly  expected  to  see  it  outspoken  as  far  north  as  Maine.  Disunion 
stalks  boldly  forth  in  the  land.  | 

At  the  time  referred  to,  Maine  held  her  State  election  in  September. 
This  made  it  possible  for  her  to  declare  herself  in  advance  of  the  presidential 
contest.  As  had  been  foreseen,  the  decision  of  the  State  was  tremendously  in 
favor  of  the  new  Republican  party.  On  the  twelfth  of  September  Blaine 
inserted  the  following  editorial  on  the  election  : — 

(From  the   Weekly  Kennebec  Journal,   September  12,  1S56.) 

2  5,000    MAJORITY  !  ! 

The  victory  won  by  the  Republicans  of  Maine  on  Monday  last  is,  all 
things  considered,  the  most  remarkable  triumph  of  principle  ever  achieved  in 
a  popular  election.  It  is  not  only  a  defeat  to  the  "  Border-Ruffian "  party, 
it  is  a  rout,  an  extermination,  a  total  annihilation.  Hannibal  Hamlin  is  so 
far  the  first  that  there  is  no  second  candidate;  his  majority  is  so  over- 
whelming, so  unprecedented,  that  even  his  most  sanguine  friends  find 
themselves  surprised  and  at  a  loss  to  comprehend  the  length  and  the  breadth, 
the  height  and  the  depth  of  this  "  most  famous  victory."  Professional 
politicians  and  skilled  canvassers  had  no  conception  of  such  a  result.  No 
party,  as  a  party,  could  ever  have  achieved  it.  It  was  a  great  irresistible 
movement  of  the  people,  smarting  and  indignant  under  the  sense  of  a  great 
national  wrong  already  perpetrated,  and  still  further  wrong  threatened  and 

The  questions  growing  out  of  the  repeal  of  the  Missouri  compromise  and 
the  subsequent  and  still  continuing  outrages  upon  free  States  men  in  Kansas 
were  the  questions  on  which  the  people  of  Maine  have  just  expressed  an 
opinion,  and  expressed  it  in  a  manner  so  emphatic  and  unmistakable  as  to  place 


it  beyond  the  hazard  of  a  misinterpretation.  All  questions  of  State  policy,  all 
minor  issues  were  carefully  and  persistently  excluded  from  the  canvass  by  the 
Republicans,  in  order  that  the  people  might  have  no  stumbling-blocks  in  the 
way  of  an  honest  declaration  of  opinion  touching  the  one  great,  overshadowing 
question.  Even  the  most  odious  and  unpopular  act  of  Governor  Wills'  admin- 
istration (the  attack  upon  the  judiciary  in  the  removal  of  Judge  Davis)  was 
suffered  to  pass  during  the  campaign  with  but  casual  mention,  so  anxious 
were  the  Republicans  to  concentrate  public  opinion  on  the  national  issues. 
Our  friends  in  other  States  may  therefore  rest  perfectly  assured  that  the 
result  of  Monday  last  was  the  triumph  of  Fremont  over  Buchanan  in  the 
State  of  Maine.  Nor  is  the  immense  majority  given  to  Mr.  Hamlin  a  fair 
index  to  Fremont's  strength  in  Maine.  His  majority  over  Buchanan  will  be 
at  least  ten  thousand  more  than  Hamlin's  over  Wills.  Though  the  Repub- 
licans waived  all  State  issues  from  the  canvass,  as  we  have  remarked  above, 
our  opponents  sought  by  every  means  to  introduce  them  and  divert  popular 
attention  from  the  national  question.  The3r  constantly  asserted  and  reiterated 
that  the  Maine  "  law "  was  in  issue  and  that  the  Republicans  would  re-enact 
it  next  winter  if  successful.  In  this  way  the  "Buchanans,"  no  doubt,  drew 
from  Hamlin  several  thousand  votes  that  are  sure  for  Fremont.  The  straight 
Whig  thimble-rig  was  also  the  means  of  deceiving  from  twenty-five  hundred  to 
three  thousand  old  Whigs,  who  will  vote  for  Fremont  and  who  never  will 
follow  Farley,  Little,  Sanborn  and  Co.  into  the  Nebraska  Locofoco  camp. 
These  men  were  deceived  by  the  trick  of  nominating  Patten  for  Governor  and 
four  Straight  Whigs  for  Congress.  November  will  bring  them  all  right,  and 
they  will  be  willing  hands  in  swelling  the  majority  for  Fremont  to  twenty- 
five  thousand. 

Maine  has  done  her  full  duty  to  the  cause  of  national  freedom  and  she 
now  calls  upon  her  sister  States  to  imitate  her  glorious  example.  Let  the 
people  be  enlightened.  Let  information  as  to  the  mighty  issue  involved  be 
spread  before  them.  Let  them  know  the  perfidy  of  the  compact-breakers  and 
the  horrible  outrages  upon  free  States  men  in  Kansas,  enacted  with  the 
complicity  and  countenance  of  the  national  administration,  and  they  will  speak 
in  other  States  as  they  have  spoken  in  Maine — in  thunder  tones  for  Liberty, 
for  the  Constitution,  and  for  the  Union ;  for  Liberty  as  the  life-blood  of  the 
Constitution,  and  for  the  Constitution  as  the  palladium  of  the  Union. 

Under  date  of  September  26,  1856,  there  appears  a  bit  of  "editorial  cor- 
respondence "  written  from  Boston,  under  the  signature  of  "  B."  This  is 
clearly  a  case  of  "  B  stands  for  Blaine."     The  letter  is  as  follows : — 

{From  the  Weekly  Kennebec  Jozimal,  September  2(5,  1856.     Editorial  Correspondence.') 

Boston,  September  26,  1856. 
The  Buchanan    and    Fillmore  men  have  sttidiously  attempted  to  create  the 
impression  that  the  vote  of  Massachusetts  was  at  least  doubtful,  and  that  there  is 


some  hope  of  throwing  it  against  Fremont.  Since  the  conventions  at  Worcester 
last  week  the  opposition  have  caved  in  and  the  universal  acknowledgment 
now  is  that  the  Bay  State  will  go  for  Fremont  and  Dayton  by  a  majority 
overwhelming  and  unprecedented.  Some  of  the  most  sanguine  of  the  Republi- 
cans place  the  majority  as  high  as  80,000,  the  probability  is  that  it  will  fall 
short  of  50,000  over  the  combined  vote  of  Buchanan  and  Fillmore.  The  vote 
for  Gardiner  will  fall  short  of  Fremont's  some  thousands,  though  not  enough 
to  imperil  his  election  by  a  very  large  majority.  The  Fillmore  Americans  have 
completely  "flattened  out"  since  the  nomination  of  Gordon.  Had  Amos  A. 
Lawrence  consented  to  stand  as  a  candidate,  it  is  not  improbable  that  he 
would  have  been  elected.  His  declination  was  a  sore  blow  to  mischievous 
huukerism  hereabouts;  the  nomination  of  Bell  by  the  "Straight  Whigs"  will 
command  no  support  worth  reckoning.  The  union  effected  at  Worcester  has 
also  insured  a  unanimous  congressional  delegation  from  the  State  favorable  to 
fill  Kansas.  Banks  and  Burlingame  will  be  re-elected  by  increased  majorities. 
All  eyes  here,  as  in  Maine,  are  turned  on  Pennsylvania.  As  I  am  en  route  in 
that  State  to  witness  the  "  great  battle  "  I  shall  endeavor  to  keep  the  readers 
of  the  Journal  faithfully  and  truthfully  advised  of  the  actual  state  of  the  case. 
"  I  shall  nothing  extenuate,  nor  set  down  aught  for  buncome."  I  find  our  great 
victory  in  Maine  is  thoroughly  appreciated  elsewhere.  The  common  acknowl- 
edgment is  that  if  Fremont  is  elected  President,  Maine  deserves  the  credit  of 
accomplishing  it.  B. 

It  appears  that  Mr.  Blaine  at  this  time  went  abroad  and  sent  in  his 
contributions  in  the  form  of  correspondence.  From  Philadelphia,  under  date  of 
September  26,  he  writes  as  follows :  — 

{Editorial  Correspondence  of  Weekly  Keymebec  Journal,  October  3,  1856.  ) 

Philadelphia,  September  26,  1856. 
It  would  be  untrue  to  say  that  the  result  of  the  presidential  contest  in 
in  this  State  is  other  than  doubtful;  it  would  be  equally  untrue  to  represent  it 
as  other  than  exceedingly  hopeful  for  the  cause  of  Fremont  and  freedom. 
All  men  have  acknowledged  that  the  Republican  party  is  making  rapid  and 
decided  gains  every  day  in  all  parts  of  the  State.  In  some  sections,  hitherto 
Democratic  strongholds,  the  change  will  be  so  thorough  as  to  amount  to  a  clean 
sweep;  in  all  sections  there  is  acknowledged  to  be  a  decided  majority  opposed  to 
the  election  of  James  Buchanan.  The  only  question  is — Can  this  adverse 
majority  be  so  concentrated  as  to  defeat  the  "common  enemy."  If  separate 
electoral  tickets  be  run  for  Fillmore  and  Fremont,  the  probability  is  that 
Buchanan  would  obtain  a  plurality.  The  vote  would  perhaps  stand  : — 
Fillmore         -  50,000 

Fremont 185,000 

Buchanan      -----       195,000 


The  total  vote  given  here — four  hundred  and  thirty  thousand — is  larger  by 
forty-five  thousand  than  has  ever  been  cast ;  but,  after  the  astonishing  increase  in 
the  vote  of  Maine,  the  above  will  not  seem  too  large  a  margin  to  allow  for  that  silent 
vote  which  is  only  brought  out  on  occasions  of  extraordinary  intent  and  emergency. 

Though  the  above  calculation  is  given  as  the  most  probable,  it  is  but  just 
to  say  that  the  vote*  allowed  to  Fillmore  is  far  larger  than  is  conceded  to  him 
by  many  of  the  sagacious  politicians  of  this  city.  A  gentleman  of  great  shrewd- 
ness in  politics,  and  with  abundant  facilities  for  forming  a  correct  judgment, 
told  me  yesterday  that  a  separate  electoral  ticket  for  Fillmore  could  not  poll 
over  twenty-five  thousand  votes,  and  that  Fremont's  vote  would  unquestionably 
go  largely  beyond  two  hundred  thousand — this  giving  him  a  plurality  over 
Buchanan.  With  what  I  have  seen  and  what  I  know  of  Pennsylvania  politics, 
I  should  regard  this  calculation  as  too  sanguine,  and  therefore  unreliable.  I 
should  say,  moreover,  that  Fremont's  success,  or  an  assurance  of  it,  depends  on 
forming  a  union  electoral  ticket  against  Buchanan,  and  I  am  glad  to  be  able 
to  say  that  there  is  every  prospect  of  this  being  done  in  an  honorable  and 
amicable  spirit.  The  two  parties  are  already  united  on  the  State  ticket  to  be 
elected  on  the  fourteenth  of  October,  and  they  have  united  also  on  every  con- 
gressional district  in  the  State  save  one,  and  there  is  no  doubt  that  a  union  will 
be  effected  there  also.  With  this  spirit  of  concord  and  unity,  it  is  quite  evident 
that  there  will  be  no  serious  obstacle  to  the  formation  of  a  union  electoral 
ticket.  This  will  be  resisted  by  a  small  faction  of  Fillmore  men  in  this  city, 
who  hold  the  same  relation  to  the  "  Border-Ruffian "  Democracy  of  Pennsyl- 
vania that  Evans,  Little,  Farley,  Sanborn  and  Co.  do  to  the  "  Border-Ruffian  " 
Democracy  of  Maine.  The  great  mass  of  the  Fillmore  men  in  this  State, 
however,  are  honest  in  their  opposition  to  Buchanan,  and  though  their  first 
choice  is  Mr.  Fillmore,  they  are  willing  to  promote  the  election  of  Fremont 
where  the  contest  is  simply  between  him  and  Buchanan. 

The  congressional  elections  are  very  promising.  Out  of  the  twenty-five 
members  to  be  chosen,  there  will  probably  be  twenty  who  will  prove  true  blue 
to  the  cause  of  free  Kansas.  From  this  city  there  will  be  a  most  gratifying 
change,  as  the  pliant  and  treacherous  Tyson  will  be  succeeded  by  that  eloquent 
and  true-hearted  champion  of  freedom,  Edward  Joy  Morris.  With  Grow  and 
Hunkel  and  Ritchie  and  Allison  and  Morris  on  the  floors  of  Congress,  there  is 
no  danger  but  that  the  voice  of  the  "  Keystone "  will  always  be  heard  for  the 
cause  of  "  Liberty  and  Union."  B. 

If  we  mistake  not,  Blaine  was  taking  part  in  the  campaign  in  Pennsylvania. 
His  next  letter  is  written  from  Pittsburgh,  under  date  of  October  4,  1856,  as 
follows  : — 

{Editorial  Correspondence  of  the  Weekly  Kennebec  Journal,  October  10,  1856.) 

Pittsburgh,  Pa.,  October  4,  1856. 
The  feeling  in  favor  of   Fremont  in  all  the  western    counties  of  this  State 
is  intense.     This  city  is  fairly  wild  with  political  excitement,  and  meetings  held 


every  night  in  the  largest  of  halls  and  crowded  to  the  utmost.  I  have  attended 
two  of  these  meetings,  last  night  and  night  before,  and  never  have  I  seen  such 
enthusiastic  demonstrations.  Every  ward  in  the  city  has  its  Fremont  Glee 
Club,  and  in  the  intervals  of  speaking  the  audience  is  entertained  with  a  choice 
vocal  concert.  The  majority  for  Fremont  west  of  the  mountains  will  be  far 
greater  than  for  the  union  State  ticket  on  the  fourteenth.  What  height  it  will 
yet  reach  no  one  can  predict  or  foresee;  it  is  daily  swelling,  and  the  majority 
in  this  city  and  county  may  go  as  high  as  ten  thousand,  and  certainly  will  not 
be  under  seven  thousand.  The  union  State  ticket  will  probably  be  carried  by 
five  or  six  thousand,  but  large  numbers  of  Democrats  who  will  vote  against 
that  avow  their  inteution  of  going  for  Fremont  in  November.  All  the  Repub- 
lican members  of  Congress  from  this  section  of  the  State  will  be  re-elected ; 
Knight,  of  the  Washington  district,  and  Edie  of  Somerset,  will  have  the  hardest 
contests,  but  they  will  both  be  elected  by  handsome  majorities.  Edie  has  a  good 
deal  of  Fillmore  feeling  to  contend  with  in  Somerset,  the  only  western  county 
in  which  it  is  found ;  it  is,  however,  sincerely  opposed  to  Buchanan,  and  will  all 
be  brought  to  the  right  mark  in  time.  All 'the  counties  bordering  on  Maryland 
are  more  or  less  tinctiired  with  pro-slavery  ism,  or  at  least  exhibit  a  shameful 
insensibility  to  the  gross  outrages  perpetrated  by  the  slave  power  in  Kansas. 
By  good  management,  however,  they  will  be  made  to  contribute  to  Buchanan's 
defeat  just  as  thoroughly  and  effectually  as  though  they  were  sincere  converts 
to  the  true  Republican  faith.  Somerset  is  perhaps  as  difficult  as  any  of  them ; 
all  its  trade  and  business  intercourse  are  with  Baltimore  and  Cumberland,  and 
the  effect  of  this  can  readily  be  imagined.  The  prospect  in  New  Jersey  grows 
more  hopeful  and  cheering  every  day,  and  notwithstanding  the  desperate  efforts 
of  the  Stockton  Fremontites  to  give  the  State  to  Buchanan,  our  friends  feel 
quite  confident  that  they  will  be  able  to  carry  it.  Many  of  the  hardest  hunker 
districts  have  been  carefully  canvassed,  and  the  result  shows  that  the  Fremont 
vote  is  about  equal  to  Fillmore  and  Buchanan  united ;  if  this  is  so,  there  can 
be  little  doubt  that  the  Republicans  will  cast  the  plurality,  which  alone  is 
requisite  to  secure  the  electoral  vote.  Taking  this  in  connection  with  the 
recent  news  from  California,  and  the  prospect  of  Fremont's  carrying  every  free 
State  is  certainly  growing  brighter   every  day.  B. 

The  next  extract  which  we  shall  present  is  written  from  Philadelphia,  under 
date  of  October  n.  It  is  clear  that  the  writer  had  returned  from  his  trip 
through  the  State,  and  is  ready  to  present  his  deductions  and  conclusion.  He 
does  so  as  follows : — 

{Editorial  Correspondence  of  Weekly  Kennebec  Journal,  October  77,  1856.) 

Philadelphia,  October  11,  1856. 
Before  this  letter  is  published  the  returns  of  the  Pennsylvania  election  will 
be  before  the  people  of  Maine.     It  is  useless,  therefore,  to  enter  into  any  further 


calculation  or  prognostications  of  the  result.  I  therefore  content  myself  with 
the  belief  expressed  in  former  letters,  that  the  State  is  safe  for  the  union  ticket 
by  a  majority  which  may  be  as  low  as  five  thousand,  and  which  may  run  as 
high  as  forty  thousand — a  medium  will  perhaps  be  near  to  the  truth.  Imme- 
diately after  the  State  election,  a  union  electoral  ticket  will  be  formed.  The 
basis  which  is  most  favorably  received  is  as  follows  :  Twenty-six  electors  shall 
consist  of  the  same  names ;  the  twenty-seventh  elector  on  the  Fillmore  ticket 
shall  consist  of  a  different  name  from  the  twenty-seventh  on  the  Fremont  ticket. 
For  example,  Millard  Fillmore  and  twenty-six  other  names  selected  from  several 
congressional  districts  shall  form  one  ticket,  and  John  C.  Fremont  and  the  same 
twenty-six  names  above  referred  to  shall  form  the  other  ticket.  The  twenty-six 
electors  shall  be  pledged  to  cast  the  electoral  votes  of  the  State  for  Millard 
Fillmore  and  John  C.  Fremont  respectively,  precisely  in  proportion  to  the 
popular  votes  cast  for  each  as  indicated  by  the  twenty-seventh  elector  on  each 
ticket.  For  example,  if  Millard  Fillmore  (or  the  twenty-seventh  elector  who 
represents  him)  receives  an  equal  number  of  votes  with  John  C.  Fremont  (or  his 
representative),  then  thirteen  electoral  votes  shall  be  given  for  Millard  Fillmore 
and  thirteen  for  John  C.   Fremont. 

This  mode,  it  will  be  observed,  involves  the  loss  of  one  elector,  at  least  it 
does  so  unless  Fremont  can  poll  an  absolute  majority  over  Buchanan,  which, 
under  the  above  arrangement,  would  hardly  seem  probable.  Mr.  Buchanan  will 
thus,  in  any  event,  receive  one  electoral  vote  from  his  own  State.  According 
to  the  rates  of  division  suggested  in  the  above  arrangement,  it  is  expected  that 
Fremont  will  get  eighteen  or  twenty  of  the  electoral  votes  to  Fillmore's  six  or 
eight.  The  disparity  may,  indeed,  be  even  greater;  some  well-posted  calculators 
will  not  allow  Fillmore  more  than  three  out  of  the  twenty-six.  If  Fremont 
carries  all  the  New  England  States,  together  with  New  York  and  the  North- 
west, he  will  only  need  eleven  more  votes  to  give  him  a  majority  in  the 
electoral  college- 

Conceding,    therefore,    the    States    of    New   Jersey    and    California    to    Mr. 
Buchanan  (both  of  which  he  will  probably  lose),  it  is  still  evident  that  Fremont- 
will    be    elected,  and   have    a    margin  of  seven    or    eight  votes    to    spare.      The 
calculation  may  be  summed  np  as  follows  : — 


Maine,             .         8 







New  Hampshire,  5 







Vermont,        .         5 







Massachusetts,      13 







Rhode   Island,        4 







Connecticut,            6 



Iowa,    . 




New  York,     .       35 



Total,      138 


The  whole  electoral  college  consists  of  296  votes,  making  149  necessary  to 
an  election.  If,  therefore,  in  addition  to  the  138  votes  above,  which  may  be 
regarded  as  certain  for  Fremont,  he  can  get  eleven  only  of  the  Pennsylvania 
votes,  he  will  undoubtedly  be  the  next  President  of  the  United  States.  In  this 
calculation,  as  we  have  before  mentioned,  the  States  of  New  Jersey  and  Cali- 
fornia are  conceded  for  Buchanan,  though  his  chances  of  carrying  either  of 
them  seem  to  be  growing  "  beautifully  less  "  every  day. 

Even  if  Buchanan  should  carry  Pennsylvania,  he  would  fail  of  an  election 
by  the  people,  as  the  fact  is  now  patent  and  indisputable  that  he  must  lose 
two,  if  not  three,  of  the  Southern  States.  The  Baltimore  election  settles  the 
case  for  Maryland,  and  the  news  from  Florida  indicates  that  the  "  Border- 
Ruffian  "  column  is  wavering  and  tottering,  even  in  its  supposed  stronghold  in 
the  far  South.  The  truth  is  that  the  true  "  Union "  men  of  the  South  are 
becoming  disgusted  with  the  disunion  rant  and  faction  of  Wise,  Brooks,  Keitt 
and  Co.,  and  are  preparing,  under  the  lead  of  Botts,  Bates,  Winter  Davis  and 
others,  to  co-operate  with  the  Republicans  of  the  free  States  in  supporting 
President  Fremont's  administration. 

We  shall  not  be  surprised  if  Mr.  Buchanan  should  fail  to  carry  more  than 
twelve  States,  leaving  sixteen  to  Fremont  and  three  to  Fillmore. 


Finally,  we  may  append  the  following  extract,  in  which  there  is  a  vein  of 
interesting  personality,  which  explains  itself. 

{From  Ken?2ebec  Journal,  August  22,  1856. ) 

The  Age  does  us  "  honor  overmuch "  when  it  says  that  we  "  claim  an 
intimacy  "  with  the  "  Border-Ruffian  "  candidate  for  the  vice-presidency.  We  never 
made  such  a  claim  publicly  or  privately.  We  knew  Mr.  Breckinridge  in 
former  years,  both  personally  and  politically,  and  had  the  pleasure  of  using 
our  feeble  efforts  against  his  election  to  Congress  in  Kentucky  the  first  time 
he  was  a  candidate.  Since  then  it  has  never  been  our  fortune  to  meet  him. 
We  know  him  to  be  a  man  of  ability,  but  of  the  worst  school  of  politics — the 
Southern  Secessionists.  If  we  had  time  and  space  we  could  give  some  chapters 
in   his  political  life  not  very  creditable  to  him.     We  may  do  so  at  another  time. 

The  Age  says  we  were  in  Kentucky  when  Matt.  Ward  was  tried.  This  is 
mere  assertion  recklessly  put  forth.  We  had  left  the  State  more  than  two  years 

To  THIS  editorial  fusillade  and  battle,  conducted  by  one  who  had  in  him  so 
many  and  so  high  ambitions,  there  could  be  but  a  single  issue.  He  must 
himself  enter  the  field  as  a  contestant  for  political  honors  and  advancements. 
This  he  did.  The  way  led  him  naturally  enough  to  the  smaller  distinctions  of 
service  in  the  legislature  of  his  adopted  State.  It  was  in  the  fall  of  1858  that 
he  first  stood  for  election  at  the  hands  of  the  people.  It  is  said  that  he  was 
rather  nervous  and  timid  on  first  going  before  his  proposed   constituents.       He 







consulted  with  his  friends  and  seemed  to  shrink  somewhat  from  the  necessary 
candidacy.  It  is  narrated  that  his  friends  had  rather  to  urge  him  forward  than 
to  hold  him  back.  Notwithstanding  his  impetuous  desire  to  be  distinguished 
and  notwithstanding  his  intellectual  courage,  of  which  he  always  possessed  the 
largest  measure,  he  'shrank  from  the  arena  and  seemed  to  fear  his  first  political 
contest.  He  had,  if  we  mistake  not,  that  kind  of  nervous  tremor  which  young 
military  captains  have  in  daring  their  first  battle.  General  Grant  has  narrated, 
with  the  greatest  interest  to  his  readers,  the  story  of  his  trial  passage  with  the 
Confederates  at  Belmont,  and  how  he  was  scared  half  out  of  his  wits  until  he 
chanced  to  reflect  that  the  Confederate  officer  commanding  against  him  was 
perhaps  worse  frightened  than  he  was. 

Before  narrating  Blaine's  first  experience  in  a  political  contest,  in  which  he 
himself  was  a  leader,  we  should  refer  to  an  initial  passage  of  the  canvass  of 
1856.  This  year  may  be  said  to  have  marked  a  beginning  of  Blaine's  public 
life.  On  the  twenty-second  of  August  he  was  chosen  secretary  of  a  great 
Repubican  mass  meeting  in  Augusta  to  ratify  the  nomination  of  General  Fremont 
for  the  presidency.  It  is  recorded  that  on  that  occasion  he  showed  in  his 
manner  every  symptom  of  bashfulness  and  timidity.  But,  at  the  same  time, 
he  was  carried  forward  by  his  ardent  desire  to  participate  in  affairs  and  to  win 
the  laurels  of  leadership.  Already  he  had  served  as  a  delegate  from  the 
Kennebec  district  in  the  first  Republican  National  Convention,  by  which 
Fremont  had  been  put  in  nomination.  On  his  return  from  that  convention,  he 
made,  at  a  public  meeting,  an  address,  in  which  was  incorporated  a  report  of  the 
proceedings  by  which  the  Pathfinder  had  been  chosen  as  the  first'  standard 
bearer  of  the  coming  party. 

Persons  present  on  the  occasion  have  left  a  record  of  the  manner  and  matter 
of  the  speaker,  still  young  in  years  and  inexperienced  in  the  actual  work  of 
public  delivery.  Whatever  may  be  a  man's  preparation,  it  is  always  a  critical 
test  when  he  has  to  begin;  that  is,  to  begin  actually.  How  great  a  thing 
it  is  for  a  young  physician  to  administer  his  first  pill !  How  greater  a  thing 
it  is  for  the  young  lawyer  to  say  actually  and  in  sober  earnest  for  the  first 
time,  "  May  it  please  the  court,  gentlemen  of  the  jury  !  "  How  greatest  a  thing 
it  is  for  a  young  political  leader  first  to  assume,  in  public  speech,  the  office  of 
instructing,  exciting  and  persuading  his  auditors !  It  was  noted  on  the  occasion 
referred  to  that  what  Blaine  said  was  remarkably  clear ;  that  he  did  not  repeat 
himself;  that  the  editorial  style  appeared  in  his  matter  and  arrangement;  that  he 
was  afraid  to  let  out  his  voice,  and  gave  many  signs  of  timidity  and  backward- 
ness. It  was  also  noted  that  his  memory  worked  like  a  clock.  Though  it  was  almost 
painful  to  see  the  embarrassment  of  the  young  orator,  he  none  the  less  got  in 
his  facts  and  made  his  speech  and  his  argument. 

An  eye-witness  has  said  of  the  speaker  on  this  occasion  :  "  He  turned  pale 
and  red  by  turns,  and  almost  tottering  to  the  front,  stood  trembling  until  the 
generous    applause    which  welcomed    him    had    died  away,  when    by  a  supreme: 


effort  he  broke  the  spell,  at  first  by  the  utterance  of  some  hesitating  words  of 
greeting  and  thanks,  and  then  gathering  confidence  went  on  with  a  speech  which 
stirred  the  audience  as  with  the  sound  of  a  trumpet  and  held  all  present  in 
breathless  interest  and  attention  to  its  close.  From  that  moment  Mr.  Blaine 
took  rank  among  the  most  effective  popular  speakers  of  the  day ;  but  it  may 
be  doubted  if  among  the  many  maturer  efforts  of  his  genius  and  eloquence  upon 
the  political  platform  of  the  legislative  tribune,  he  has  ever  excited  an  audience 
to  a  more  passionate  enthusiasm  or  left  a  profounder  impression  upon  the  minds 
and  hearts  of  his  hearers.  " 

Much  interest  attaches  to  this  maiden  effort  of  him  who  was  to  be  twice 
Secretary  of  State.  It  illustrates  forcibly  and  well  the  common  fact  with  great 
speakers;  namely,  that  trepidation,  stammering,  and  extreme  nervous  agitation, 
and  combustion  of  force  are  the  invariable  precursors  of  success.  It  is  not  well 
that  a  young  speaker,  on  going  to  his  trial,  should  appear  calm,  dispassionate 
and  unexcited.  It  is  not  natural  that  he  should  be  so.  There  must  be  the  rush 
of  youthful  blood ;  the  sudden  and  tremendous  accumulation  of  nerve  force  in 
the  brain  ;  the  surging  of  all  the  emotions  and  psychonomy  of  the  being  to  one 
vital  organ  and  then  another,  resulting  in  disturbance,  swimming  of  the  vision, 
half-blindness,  stage  fright,  despair,  oblivion,  folly  and  all  that — if  the  speaker 
is  destined  to  greatness.  By  and  by  the  ocean  will  come  to  a  calm  ;  the  waters 
below  will  divide  themselves  from  the  waters  above ;  the  sky  will  appear ;  the 
sharp  outline  of  far  shores  be  seen ;  and  above,  the  stars.  Then  the  speaker 
will  begin  to  reveal  the  mysteries  of  his  spirit  and  purpose  to  others  and  to 
lead  them  in  the  pathway  of  his  command.  All  the  great  acts  of  life  commence — 
if  they  commence  well — with  agitation,  pain,  exhaustion  of  nervous  force  and 
flashes  of  the  ludicrous. 

In  another  part  of  this  volume  we  shall  present  more  fully  some  of  the 
products  of  Blaine's  mind  at  this  period  of  his  career.  He  helped  to  fight 
through  the  Fremont  battle  and  to  carry  his  adopted  State  for  the  Republican 
ticket.  His  influence  told  upon  the  issue  of  the  campaign.  His  battle  in  the 
Kennebec  Journal  and  in  other  newspapers  was  ably  fought.  He  was  indefatigable 
in  season  and  out  of  season.  Though  the  general  result  was  adverse  to  the 
ticket  which  he  siipported,  it  was  nevertheless  full  of  encouragement  and  promise. 
The  casting  of  a  large  electoral  vote  for  John  C.  Fremont,  in  this  first  contest 
of  the  new  party,  was  significant  to  a  degree.  The  decision  of  November,  1856, 
had  the  similitude  of  a  man's  hand  writing  on  the  plaster  over  against  the 
throne-place  of  the  Ancient  Order,  and  tracing  thereon  the  significant  MENE, 
MENE,  TEKEL,  UPHARSIN.  The  writing  was  clouded  with  smoke  and 
seen  by  flashes  of  flame,  which  shone  as  far  as  the  Platte,  the  Arkansas,  the 
Gulf,  the  Rio  Grande.  No  man  might  any  longer  doubt  the  significance  of  the 
phenomenon  which  had  appeared  in  the  political  sky. 

All  this  was  seen  and  read  by  Blaine.  He  was  still  in  the  first  flush  of 
manhood.  He  threw  himself  with  ever-increasing  confidence  into  the  humane 



but  dangerous  movement  of  the  day.  There  were  breakers  ahead,  rapids,  rocky 
shores,  plunges  and  possibly  a  Niagara  of  dissolution  and  war.  Whether  he 
saw  it  or  did  not  see  it,  he  took  the  chances  of  the  event  with  many  another 
aspiring  young  man  destined  to  leadership  and  national   fame. 

Blaine  at  length  came  forward  in  his  district  as  a  candidate  for  the  Legis- 
lature. This  was  in  the  fall  of  1858.  It  was  coincident  in  time  with  the 
Lincoln  and  Douglas  debates.  The  intellectual  battle  was  now  fairly  on.  The 
tall,  gaunt  Illinoisan  defined  it  fully  when  he  declared  that  a  honse  divided 
against  itself  must  fall.  And  never  was  there  a  more  significant  appli- 
cation of  a  great  aphorism.  The  house  was  divided  against  itself.  Either 
must  one  of  the  contending  parties  go  to  the  wall  and  be  extinguished 
along  with  the  principles  which  it  professed,  or  the  house  itself  must  tumble 
into  ruins.  This  principle  was  caught  and  enunciated.  Blaine  took  it  up 
and  promulgated  it  first  editorially  and  afterwards  in  public  speeches 

We  should  here 

remark  that  seme 
changes  occurred 
in  his  editorial  re- 
lations about  this 
time.  He  held  the 
position  which  he 
had  taken,  as  asso- 
ciate editor  of  the 
Kennebec  Journal, 
until  the  ninth  of 
October,  1857, 
when  he  sold  out 
to  John  S.  Say- 
ward,  of  Bangor.  The  name  of  Sayward  took  the  place  of  Blaine  as 
proprietor  and  editor.  The  latter  was  induced  to  make  this  change  by  two 
motives.  The  first  was,  some  disagreement  in  policy  with  his  partner,  Baker. 
The  latter  was  a  more  conservative  man  than  was  the  junior  partner,  and 
would  fain  have  the  paper  conducted  in  a  manner  less  radical.  Blaine,  on 
the  contrary,  was  wont  to  rush  ahead ;  to  plunge  into  new  questions ;  to  say 
new  and  audacious  things  on  old  questions  and  thus  to  keep  his  rather  sedate 
partner  in  hot  water.  The  other  motive  was  that  of  personal  advantage.  Blaine 
retired  from  the  Journal  to  accept  a  better  paying  and  more  influential  position 
on  the  Portland  Daily  Advertiser,  with  which  paper  his  name  was  connected 
until  his  election  to  Congress. 

In  the  fall  of  1858,  the  young  politician  was  chosen  to  the  lower  House 
of  the  Legislature  of  Maine  and  went  to  that  body  with  a  strong  majority 
behind  him.  He  was  now  twenty-eight  years  of  age.  It  is  said,  that  notwith- 
standing   the     public    experience    of     the    last    two     years,     his     timidity     and 



embarrassment  were  still  seen  with  his  every  appearance.  Though  his  memory 
was  prodigious,  he  did  not  trust  to  the  use  of  that  faculty  to  the  extent  of 
extemporizing  anything  that  he  had  to  say  in  public.  The  editorial  habit  was 
strong  with  him.  He  was,  we  believe,  one  of  the  first  of.  our  popular  speakers 
to  write  out  completely  and  memorize  what  he  was  going  to  deliver  in  public. 
This  he  did  in  the  case  of  the  speeches  which  he  delivered  while  a  candidate 
for  the  Legislature.  It  may  be  doubted  whether  speeches  so  prepared  and 
committed  would  be  very  effective  west  of  the  Alleghanies  ;  but  in  and  about 
Augusta  the  people  were  of  such  temper  and  culture  as  to  appreciate  this  style 
of  oratory.  Blaine's  delivery,  bat- 
ing his  embarrassment,  was  alwa37s 
admirable  ;  always  direct.  Thus 
he  went  through  his  canvass  for 
the  lower  House  successfully,  gain- 
ing upon  the  esteem  and  admira- 
tion of  his  constituency. 

It  is  clear  in  the  retrospect 
that,  notwithstanding  the  impet- 
uosity and  high-nervous  tension 
of  the  subject  of  this  narrative, 
he  was,  nevertheless,  cautions  and 
prudent.  This  was  the  paradox 
of  his  nature.  His  caution  and 
prudence  stood  him  well  in  hand. 
They  taught  him  to  begin  in  a 
comparatively  low  and  easy  key. 
He  entered  the  Legislature  in 
this  mood.  He  passed  his  first 
experiences  in  that  body  in  a 
manner  quiet  and  almost  unob- 
served.    At    length    he    began  to 

assert  himself,  particularly  on  party  blaine  at  28. 

questions.  At  that  time  all  the  legislatures  were  looking  up  from  their  own  local 
affairs  and  projects  to  the  greater  affairs  of  the  Republic.  Whenever  the  debates 
turned  in  this  direction  Blaine  was  in  the  midst.  During  his  first  term  of  service, 
he  went  forward  steadily  to  the  position  of  a  foremost  man.  He  had  the  approval 
of  his  constituency.  He  was  re-elected  in  1859,  in  1S60  and  in  1861.  At  the 
beginning  of  his  third  term  he  was  chosen  speaker,  being  then  at  the  age  of 
thirty.  This  honor  was  conferred  again  at  the  beginning  of  the  next  session  ; 
so  that,  before  his  entrance  into  Congress,  he  had  already  acquired  experience 
in  the  matter  of  presiding  over  deliberative  bodies. 

This  is  in  brief  the  history  of  the  young  Maine  politician    on    his    way  to 
leadership    and  national  reputation.     We  may  pause  to  remark   upon    the    swift 



movement  of  events  during  the  time  of  his  service  in  the  Legislature  of  his 
State.  No  other  period  in  our  history  has  been  more  critical  than  the  four 
years  extending  from  1858  to  1862.  Everything  was  undergoing  the  pangs  of 
transformation.  The  nation  was  entering  the  furnace  blast,  in  which  it  was  to 
be  renewed  and  from  which  it  was  to  come  forth — if  come  at  all — purified  and 
regenerated.  The  slavery  question  was  in  all  minds  and  hearts.  The  antag- 
onism between  the  advocates  of  that  institution  and  its  enemies  grew  more  and 
more  intense.  The  Kansas  war  worked  out  its  own  results  in  the  final  adop- 
tion of  a  free  state  constitution  at  Topeka.  But  the  slavery  element  along 
the    border    still   muttered    and    fought.      The    Dred  Scott  decision    was    slowly 

prepared,  and  at 
length  issued.  That 
pronunciamento  w  a  s 
to  be  the  be-all  and 
end-all  of  the  matter. 
A  paper  document, 
full  of  sound  logic  and 
other  such  infamy, 
was  put  forth  as  a 
settlement  of  the 
whole  question  against 
the  rights  of  man  and 
the  very  principles  of 
human  nature.  May 
be  the  negro  is  a  hu- 
man being,  but  he  is 
not  a  man  !  He  is  a 
chattel!  He  cannot  be  or  become  anything  but 
a  chattel.  His  chattelhood  is  plainly  deducible 
from  the  unmistakable  letter  and  influence  of 
the  Constitution  of  the  United  States.  That 
document  virtually  makes  slavery  universal.  An 
owner  may  take  his  chattels  everywhere.  Even 
the  State  Constitution  cannot  impede  him.  "  Nigger "  is  "  nigger,"  to  all 
generations !  Cursed  be  Canaan  anyhow  !  Such  was  the  atrocious  meter  and 
rhythm  of  this  incalculable  bulletin  issued  by  the  Supreme  Court  of  our 
country!  And  yet  it  was  able  law!  Such  inconsistencies  and  atrocities  history 
is  able  to  introduce  in  this  arena  of  alleged  civilization  ! 

There  also  came  the  apparition  of  Old  John  Brown.  He  was  Ossa- 
wattomie  Brown.  He  had  six  brave  sons.  The3'  had  fought  in  the 
Kansas  war.  Some  of  them  were  dead.  The  brave  Captain  Brown  devoted 
himself  on  the  altars  of  his  country.  He  was  a  man  of  ideas ;  rather,  of 
one  idea. 



"  All  merit  comes 
From  braving  the  unequal ; 
All  glory  comes  from  daring  to  begin. 
Fame  loves  the  State 
That,  reckless  of  the  sequel, 
Fights  long  and  well,  whether  it  lose  or  win. 


"And  there  was  ONE 
Whose  faith,  whose  fight,  whose  failing, 
Fame  shall  placard  upon  the  walls  of  time. 
He  dared  begin — 
Despite  the  unavailing, 
He  dared  begin  wheu  failure  was  a  crime." 

Old  Ossawattomie  Brown  began  it.  He  attacked  the  world  with  fewer  than 
twenty  men  !  He  had  pikes  instead  of  guns.  He  and  his  fellows  had  hammered 
out  curious  mediaeval  spearheads  in  the  fall  of  1859.     Then — 

86  LIFE   AND   WORK   OF  JAMES   G.    BLAINE. 

"  He  went  into  the  valley  there 

Without  a  comrade  for  his  soul ; 
He  struck  !  and  all  the  world  was  'ware 

That  that  one  blow  would  make  us  whole ! 
"  For  armies  rose  from  out  the  earth, 

And  great  ships  loomed  upon  the  sea ; 
And  Liberty  had  second  birth 
In  fire  and  blood  and  victory !  " 

Then  opened  the  drama  of  secession.  The  American  Union  was  rent; 
it  was  torn  with  extreme  violence.  One  State  after  another  declared  herself 
most  impudently  absolved  from  allegiance  to  the  Government  built  by  the 
Fathers.  Away  they  went  into  dissolution  and  inevitable  war.  Was  it  possible 
that  the  secessionists  thought  the  Government — that  is,  the  people — of  the 
United  States  would  indeed  "  Let  them  alone  ?  "  Could  it  be  supposed  that  the 
great  Republic  would  lie  down  supinely  and  let  herself  be  dismembered  and 
destroyed  ?  Was  it  thinkable  that  the  fire  of  resentment  and  battle  would  not 
blaze  in  her  flushed  breast ;  that  her  sword  would  not  flash  out  with  the 
brilliancy  of  extreme  anger  ;  that  she  would  not  break  her  cords  and  cast  their 
bonds  asunder,  striking  with  vengeful  and  vindictive  sword-cuts  at  all  them 
who  had  risen  against  her — rather  than  let  herself  be  dishonored,  shamed  and 
destroyed  before  the  nations  ? 

So  the  leaders  of  disunion  seemed  to  think ;  so  they  said ;  so  they  would 
have  the  world  believe.  And,  indeed,  the  world  either  believed  it  or  appeared 
to  believe  it.  But  the  American  heart  did  not  believe  it.  There  was  a 
residue  of  loyal  blood  that  rose  like  a  torrent  in  millions  of  hearts  and  began 
to  foam  and  rush  through  all  arteries  and  veins  until  the  vindication  of 
freedom  and  the  breaking  of  the  bondman's  chains  should  be  accomplished ! 
We  here  speak  of  these  great  questions,  seen  now  in  the  backward  look  with 
patriotic  indignation,  only  for  the  purpose  of  making  clear  the  forces  and 
opinions  and  incipient  battle,  in  the  midst  of  which  the  rising  young 
statesman  of  Maine  was  disciplined  and  brought  to  man's  full  estate. 

We  may  pause  to  note  some  of  his  specific  work  in  the  Legislature  of 
his  State.  As  we  have  said,  that  Legislature  as  well  as  many  others  was 
busy  with  the  great  questions  of  the  day.  Those  questions  came  on  in  full 
force  after  Blaine's  election  to  the  speakership.  But  he  was  wont,  on  occasion, 
to  come  down  to  the  floor  and  participate  actively  in  the  debate.  In  the 
beginning  of  1862,  the  question  of  the  confiscation  of  rebel  property  was  on 
in  Congress,  and  there  was  a  division  of  sentiment  with  respect  thereto.  On  the 
seventh  of  February,  in  this  year,  the  following  resolutions  relating  to  national 
affairs  were  adopted  in  the  Senate  of  Maine  and  afterwards  sent  to  the  House 
for  concurrence : — 

"  Resolved,  That  we  cordially  endorse  the  administration  of  Abraham 
Lincoln  in  the  conduct  of  the  war  against  the    wicked    and    unnatural    enemies 



of  the  Republic,  and  that  in  all  its  measures  calculated  to  crush  this 
rebellion  speedily  and  finally,  the  administration  is  entitled  to  and  will  receive 
the  unwavering  support  of  the  loyal  people  of  Maine. 

"  Resolved,  That  it  is  the  duty  of  Congress,  by  such  means  as  will  not 
jeopard  the  rights  and  safety  of  the  loyal  people  of  the  South,  to  provide 
for  the  confiscation  of  estates,  real  and  personal,  of  rebels,  and  for  the 
forfeiture  and  liberation  of  every  slave  claimed  by  any  person  who  shall 
continue  in  arms  against  the  authority  of  the  United  States,  or  who 
shall  in  any  manner  aid  and  abet  the  present  wicked  and  unjustifiable 

"  Resolved,  That  in  this  perilous  crisis  of  the  country,  it  is  the  duty  of 
Congress,  in  the  exercise  of  its  constitutional  power  to  "  raise  and  support 
armies,"  to  provide  by 
law  for  accepting  the  ser- 
vices of  all  able-bodied 
men  of  whatever  status, 
and  to  employ  these  men 
in  such  a  manner  as 
military  necessity  and 
the  safety  of  the  Re- 
public may  demand. 

"  Resolved,  That  a 
copy  of  these  resolutions 
be  sent  to  the  Senators 
and  Representatives  in 
Congress  from  this  State, 
and  that  they  be  re- 
spectfully requested  to 
use  all  honorable  means 
to  secure  the  passage  of 
acts  embodying  their 
spirit  and  substance."  STATE  capital  at  adgusta,  mk. 

These  resolutions  were  adopted  by  a  large  majority  and  sent  to  the  House 
for  approval.  In  all  the  Northern  States  there  were,  at  that  time,  certain  men 
who  represented  the  residue  of  the  Ancient  Order.  These  were  constitutionally 
opposed  to  everything.  Let  us  concede  to  them  a  useful  office.  Certainly 
they  contributed  something  to  the  history  of  the  times.  On  the  occasion 
referred  to,  a  certain  Mr.  Gould,  of  Thomaston,  spoke  on  the  Senate 
resolutions,  opposing  them  with  all  his  might  in  an  elaborate  argument.  This 
situation  was  of  precisely  the  kind  to  bring  out  the  powers  of  Blaine.  He 
came  to  the  charge  and  supported  the  resolutions  with  a  spirit  peculiarly 
his  own.  In  his  remarks  we  may  discover  the  temper  and  purpose  of  the 
man : 




Mr.  Chairman — The  first  hour  of  the  seven  which  the  gentleman  from 
Thomaston  has  consumed  I  shall  pass  over  with  scarcely  a  comment.  It  was 
addressed  almost  exclusively,  and  in  violation  of  parliamentary  rules,  to 
personal  matters  between  himself  and  a  distinguished  citizen  from  the  same 
section,  lately  the  gubernatorial  candidate  of  the  Democratic  party,  and  now 
representing  the  County  of  Knox  in  the  other  branch  of  the  Legislature 
(Col.  Smart).  With  that  quarrel,  here  or  elsewhere,  it  would  be  unseemly 
for  me  to  meddle,  and  without  intending  disrespect  to  either  gentleman,  I 
may    quote    the    Grub    street    couplet,    apt    if    not    elegant,  as    illustrating   my 

position  : 

"  For  the  matter  of  that  I  don't  care  a  toss  up, 
Whether  Mossup  kicks  Barry  or  Barry  kicks  Mossup.' 

And  at  the  game  of  "  kicking,"  I  warn  the  gentleman  from  Thomaston, 
from  my  own  past  observation,  that  he  will  find  the  Senator  from  Knox  quite 
as  valiant  an  adversary  as  he  will  care  to  encounter.  Without  further  delay 
on  matters  personal,  I  proceed,  sir,  to  the  discussion  of  what  I  may  term  the 
inestimably  important  question    submitted    to   the  judgment  of  this   Legislature. 

I  shall  best  make  myself  understood,  and  perhaps  most  intelligibly 
respond  to  the  argument  of  the  gentleman  from  Thomaston,  by  discussing  the 
question  in  its  two  phases  :  first,  as  to  the  power  of  Congress  to  adopt  the 
measures  conceived  in  the  pending  resolutions ;  and  secondly,  as  to  the 
expediency  of  adopting  them.  And  at  the  very  outset,  I  find  between  the 
gentleman  from  Thomaston  and  myself,  a  most  radical  difference  as  to  the 
"war  power"  of  the  Constitution;  its  origin,  its  extent,  and  the  authority 
which  shall  determine  its  action,  direct  its  operation,  and  fix  its  limit.  He 
contends,  and  he  spent  some  four  or  five  hours  in  attempting  to  prove,  that 
the  war  power  in  this  Government  is  lodged  wholly  in  the  Executive,  and  in 
describing  his  almost  endless  authority  he  piled  Ossa  on  Pelion  until  he  had 
made  the  President  under  the  war  power  perfectly  despotic,  with  all  preroga- 
tives and  privileges  concentrated  in  his  own  person — and  then  to  end  the 
tragedy  with  a  farce,  with  uplifted  hands  he  reverently  thanked  God  that 
Abraham  Lincoln  was  not  an  ambitious  villain  (like  some  of  his  Democratic 
predecessors,  I  presume)  to  use  this  power,  trample  on  the  liberties  of  the 
nation,  erect  a  throne  for  himself,  and  thus  add  another  to  the  list  of 
usurpers  that  have  disfigured  the  world's  history.  That  was  precisely  the  line 
of  the  gentleman's  logic — first  stripping  all  the  other  departments  of  their 
proper  and  constitutional  power,  heaping  it  all  on  the  President,  and  then 
thanking  God  that  the  President  does  not  rule  as  the  caprices  of  tyranny 
might  dictate  !     Could  argumentative  nonsense  go  farther  ? 

I  dissent  from  these  conclusions  of  the  gentleman.  I  read  the  Federal 
Constitution    differently  !     I    read  in  the  most  pregnant  and  suggestive    section 

LIFE   AND   WORK   OF  JAMES   G.    BLAINE-  89 

of  that  immortal  charter  that  certain  "  powers  "  are  declared  to  belong  to  Congress. 
I  read  therein  that  "Congress  shall  have  power"  among  other  large  grants  of 
authority,  "  to  provide  for  the  common  defence  ;  "  that  it  shall  have  power  "  to 
declare  war,  grant  letters  of  marque  and  reprisal,  and  make  rules  concerning 
captures  on  land  and  water;"  that  it  shall  have  power  to  "raise  and  support 
armies,"  to  "  provide  and  maintain  a  navy,"  and  to  "  make  rules  for  the  gov- 
ernment of  the  land  and  naval  forces  ;  "  and  as  though  these  powers  were  not 
sufficiently  broad  and  general,  the  section  concludes  in  its  eighteenth  subdivision, 
by  declaring  that  Congress  shall  have  power  "  to  make  all  laws  which  shall  be 
necessary  and  proper  for  carrying  into  execution  the  foregoing  powers  and  all 
other  powers  vested  by  this  Constitution  in  the  Government  of  the  United  States, 
or  in  any  department  or  officer  thereof."  Mark  that — "  in  any  department  or 
officer  thereof!  " 

*  *  H:  :i:  :i:  *  * 

At  the  origin  of  our  Government,  Mr.  Chairman,  the  people  were  jealous 
of  their  liberties  ;  they  gave  power  guardedly  and  grudgingly  to  their  rulers ; 
they  were  hostile,  above  all  things,  to  what  is  termed  the  one-man  power,  and 
you  cannot  but  observe  with  what  peculiar  care  they  provided  against  the  abuse 
of  the  war  power.  For  after  giving  Congress  the  power  "  to  declare  war,"  and 
"  to  raise  and  support  armies,"  they  added  in  the  Constitution  these  remarkable 
and  emphatic  words,  "  but  no  appropriation  of  money  to  that  use  shall  be  for 
a  longer  term  than  two  years,"  which  is  precisely  the  period  for  which  the 
Representatives  in  the  popular  branch  are  chosen.  Thus,  sir,  this  power  is  not 
given  to  Congress  simply,  but  in  effect  it  was  given  to  the  House  of  Repre- 
sentatives ;  the  people  placing  it  where  they  could  lay  their  hands  directly  upon 
it  at  every  biennial  election,  and  say  "  yes  "  or  "  no  "  to  the  principles  or  policy 
of  any  war.  And  it  is  worthy  of  note  that  this  popular  control  is  secured  at 
every  corner  and  through  every  loophole  of  the  Constitution ;  for  not  only  do 
the  people  in  their  primary  capacity,  by  direct  suffrage,  elect  their  Representa- 
tives every  two  years,  but  in  a  case  of  a  vacancy  happening,  no  power,  save 
that  of  the  people  themselves,  is  able  to  fill  it.  If  a  vacancy  happens  in  the  Senate, 
the  Governor  of  a  State  may  appoint  a  successor  till  the  Legislature  meets,  but 
if  it  occur  "  in  the  representation  of  any  State  "  the  Constitution  simply  declares 
that  the  executive  authority  of  such  State  "  shall  issue  writs  of  election  to  fill 
such  vacancy,"  leaving  to  the  people  directly  the  choice  of  the  Representative. 
It  is  moreover  declared  in  the  Constitution  "  that  all  bills  for  revenue  shall 
originate  in  the  House  of  Representatives,"  thus  giving  again  to  popular  control 
the  power  of  the  "  purse,"  which  is  superior  to  the  power  of  the  "  sword,"  as 
without,  the  sword  has  "  neither  force  nor  edge."  Talk,  sir,  as  the  gentleman 
from-  Thomaston  has,  for  so  many  hours,  about  the  war  power  being  lodged 
exclusively  in  the  President !  Why  such  an  assertion  is  the  acme  of  nonsense. 
Without  the  assent  of  Congress  there  can  be  no  war,  and  Congress  can  stop 
the  war  at  any  moment   it   chooses.     Without   the  assent  of  Congress,  and  the 

90  LIFE   AND   WORK   OF  JAMES   G.    BLAINE. 

supply  of  money  by  Congress,  your  quartermaster  can  give  you  no  transportation ; 
your  commissary  cannot  issue  a  ration;  your  chief  of  ordnance  cannot  furnish 
a  cartridge  ;  your  paymaster  cannot  give  a  private  a  single  month's  wages.  As 
the  House  of  Commons,  sir,  in  England  controls  the  aristocratic  Chamber  of  Lords, 
and  holds  in  check  the  power  of  the  throne,  by  having  the  exclusive  right  to 
originate  "  supply  bills,"  so,  sir,  our  House  of  Representatives,  through  the 
right  to  originate  bills  of  revenue,  causes  the  fresh  and  vigorous  voice  of  the 
people  to  be  heard  against  the  long-tenured  power  of  Senators  and  the  individual 
wishes  of  the  Executive.  And  in  attempting  to  strip  the  Representative  branch 
of  this,  its  rightful  prerogative,  and  the  thousand  incidental  powers  derived  from 
it,  and  through  it,  the  gentleman  from  Thomaston  has  aimed  to  curtail  the 
power  of  the  people,  and  to  give  to  the  whims  and  preferences  it  may  be,  of  a 
single  man,  what  was  intended  to  be,  and  must  of  right  continue  to  be,  for  the 
arbitrament  and  deliberate  decision  of  the  people  of  the  entire  nation. 

In  all  that  I  am  thus  maintaining  in  regard  to  the  supreme  war  power  of 
Congress,  I  make  no  conflict  between  that  and  the  Executive  power,  which  in 
war,  as  well  as  in  all  matters  of  civil  administration,  belongs  to  the  President. 
The  question  at  issue  between  the  gentleman  from  Thomaston  and  myself  is 
not  whether  the  President  has  power  of  great  magnitude  in  the  conduct  of  a  war, 
for  that  I  readily  admit,  or  rather  I  stoutly  affirm  ;  but  the  point  at  issue  is, 
which  is  superior  in  authority,  Congress  or  the  President  ?  I  think  I  have 
shown  that  the  Constitution  vests  the  supreme  unlimited  power  in  Congress, 
and  that  the  President  must  obey  the  direction  of  Congress,  as  the  chief  execu- 
tive officer  of  the  nation,  and  at  the  same  time  he  must  be  held  accountable  for 
the  mode  in  which  his  subordinate  officers  execute  the  trusts  confided  to  them. 
There  can  be  no  confusion  of  ideas  as  to  the  proper  metes  and  bounds  of 
.  this  authority,  and  I  am  quite  sure  that  this  war  will  progress  to  a  successful 
conclusion,  without  the  conflict  of  authority  under  discussion  being  even  once 
practically  developed.  I  need  say  no  more  on  this  point  than  simply  to  introduce 
an  illustration  of  how  the  power  of  Congress  is  felt  in  prescribing  rules  "  for 
the  government  of  the  land  and  naval  forces."  Until  quite  recent^-  many  of 
the  commanding  generals  have  been  in  the  habit  of  returning  fugitive  slaves 
that  sought  refuge  in  their  camps.  Congress  considering  such  a  practice  to  be 
a  scandal  on  our  civilization,  has  just  directed  that  it  shall  cease,  and  the 
President,  as  the  executive  officer  of  the  nation,  is  charged  with  the  enforcement 
of  the  will  of  Congress  in  the  premises.  With  that  conclusive  example  of  the 
exercise  of  congressional  power,  which  I  have  been  discussing,  I  leave  this 
branch  of  the  subject. 

Mr.  Chairman,  upon  an  analysis  of  the  different  positions  held  by  the  gentleman 
from  Thomaston  and  myself,  on  the  various  questions  suggested  by  the  resolves 
under  discussion,  I  find  that  after  proper  elimination  the  points  at  issue  may 
fairly  be  reduced  to  two.  The  first,  as  to  wherein  the  war  power  of  the  Govern- 
ment is    lodged,  has    been  examined,  and  I  have  attempted    to  demonstrate  that 


the  Constitution  vests  it  in  Congress.  I  shall  have  more  to  say  on  this  topic 
as  I  progress  in  my  remarks.  The  other  point  at  issue  has  reference  to  the 
relations  that  now  exist  between  the  Government  of  the  United  States  and  the 
so-called  Confederate  States. 

Of  course  this  position  does  not  imply  that  the  only  rights  we  have  against 
these  rebels  are  those  of  belligerence  or  war;  nor  does  it  exclude  us  from  assert- 
ing the  higher  rights  of  sovereignty  whenever  they  can  be  made  effective.  By 
no  means.  Even  the  sweeping  quotation  I  have  made  from  Vattel  is  restricted 
by  the  same  writer,  in  a  clause  immediately  following,  to  the  time  during  which 
the  war  continues.  That  celebrated  author  is  careful  to  state,  and  I  quote  his 
exact  language,  that  the  sovereign  authority  "  having  conquered  the  opposite  party 
and  reduced  it  to  sue  for  peace,  may  except  from  the  amnesty  the  authors  of  the 
trouble  and  the  heads  of  the  party ;  may  bring  them  to  a  legal  trial,  and  on 
conviction  punish  them.  So  that  by  the  law  of  nations  and  the  law  of  common 
sense,  we  have  as  against  the  rebels  the  rights  both  of  belligerence  and  sover- 
eignty— the  latter  class  of  rights  being  incapable  of  enforcement  at  present,  and 
so  remaining  until  they  are  vindicated  and  re-established  through  the  rights  and 
powers  of  belligerence.  In  addition  to  the  authority  of  Vattel,  which  I  have 
quoted,  I  am  glad  to  be  able  to  refer  to  a  very  recent  opinion  from  one  of  the 
most  eminent  constitutional  lawyers  in  New  England  in  support  of  my  position. 
I  refer  to  a  decision  of  Judge  Sprague  in  a  recent  prize  case  of  the  United 
States  District  Court  in  Boston.  That  eminent  jurist  laid  it  down  as  an  indis- 
putable doctrine  of  law,  that  to-day  we  have  as  against  the  so-called  Confeder- 
ate States  all  the  rights  of  belligerence  and  sovereignty,  too — thus  sustaining  not 
only  in  effect,  but  in-  precision  of  language,  the  principles  I  have  quoted  from 
Vattel ;  and  which  I  have  labored  to  establish  as  essential  to  sound  views  and 
conclusions  on  the  important  subject  under  discussion. 

And  here,  sir,  in  pursuance  of  the  principles  I  have  enunciated,  I  lay 
down  the  proposition  as  broadly  as  my  language  can  express  it,  that  every  power 
and  prerogative  which  the  Federal  Government  would  rightfully  possess  in  war, 
as  against  England,  France,  Brazil,  Mexico,  or  any  other  foreign  power,  it  does 
this  day  possess  as  against  the  so-called  Confederate  States.  And  I  challenge 
any  gentleman  successfully  to  refute  that  proposition  !  But  the  moment  these 
war  powers  are  carried  to  the  destruction  or  forfeiture  of  the  property  of  a  rebel, 
the  gentleman  from  Thomaston  cries  out  that  the  Constitution  of  the  United 
States  is  violated  in  the  section  where  Congress  is  prohibited  forfeiting  property 
"  except  during  the  life  of  the  person  attainted  "  of  treason. 

I  tell  the  gentleman,  that  the  operation  of  that  clause  of  the  Constitution 
is  one  governing  the  civil  tribunals  of  the  land,  where  courts  are  in  session,  juries 
empaneled,  precepts  served,  and  the  process  of  law  unobstructed.  If  he  contends 
that  it  is  applicable  to  a  condition  of  things  wherein  the  civil  power  of  the 
Government  has   ceased    to    be    operative    in    eleven  States  he  must  contend    by 



parity  of  reasoning  that  every  other  provision  of  the  Constitution  is  equally 
operative,  and  that  the  state  of  belligei-ence  does  not  supervene  with  its  own 
well-defined  and  self-protective  laws.  If  he  takes  this  ground,  and  there  is  none 
other  left  him,  I  ask  him,  and  I  want  an  answer,  whence  is  derived  the  power 
to  blockade  the  ports  of  the  rebel  States  ? 

The  Constitution  of  the  United  States  says  expressly  that  "  no  preference 
shall  be  given  to  the  ports  of  one  State  over  those  of  another."  And  yet 
directly  in  the  face  of  this  inhibition,  a  blockade  of  the  most  rigorous  character 
has  been  instituted  by  which  Charleston,  Savannah,  New  Orleans,  and  all  other 
Southern  ports  are  cut  off  from  all  commerce,  while  New  York,  Boston,  Port- 
land, and  all  other  loyal    ports  are  left  in    the  free  and    unrestricted  enjoyment 


of  trade.  Whence  is  the  power  derived  to  do  this?  The  gentleman  does  not 
answer.  Is  it  an  unconstitutional  act  because  in  apparent  conflict  with  the  letter 
of  one  section  of  that  instrument?  How  can  the  gentleman  justify  the  act, 
other  than  by  war  power  of  the  Government  blockading  the  ports  of  the 
so-called  Confederate  States,  just  as  we  did  the  ports  of  Mexico  when  at  war  with 
that  Power? 

There  was  one  error,  Mr.  Chairman,  which  seems  to  haunt  the  gentleman 
very  persistently  throughout  the  entire  thread  of  his  argument — and  that  was, 
the  alleged  impossibility  of  bringing  the  war  power  to  bear  against  the  rebels 
without  first  conceding  that  they  had  actually  carried  their  States  out  of  the 
Union.      He  stated  many  times  that   if  the    rebel    States    are    integral    members 


of  the  Union,  the  contest  with  the  rebels  themselves  cannot  be  carried  on  as  a 
war,  and  that  conversely  to  concede  that  it  is  war,  is  to  concede  that  the  States 
have  actually  seceded  and  set  up  a  separate  power.  No  statement  could  be 
more  absurdly  fallacious  or  amusingly  ridicilous,  as  the  gentleman  himself 
will  see  by  the  most  casual  recurrence  to  fundamental  principles.  The  State 
cannot  be  compromised  or  destroyed  by  the  wrongful  acts  of  never  so  large  a  major- 
ity of  its  people.  The  wrongdoers,  by  the  very  force  of  their  numbers,  may  and 
do  acquire  certain  immunities  against  individual  punishment  as  I  have  already 
shown,  but  they  do  not  acquire  the  right  to  change  the  relations  of  the  State. 
I  maintain  as  stoutly  as  he  does,  that  Virginia  and  Tennessee,  and  all  the  rest 
of  the  eleven,  are  to-day  States  in  the  Union,  and  that  the  Constitution  and 
laws  of  the  nation  are  operative  within  their  borders.  A  rebellious  force, 
however,  having  risen  to  such  strength  as  to  thwart  the  civil  power  and  prevent 
the  actual  operation  of  the  laws,  it  is  the  duty  of  the  nation  through  the  war 
power  to  vindicate  its  authority,  so  that  a  Constitution  which  is  operative  may 
be  made  actually  operating,  and  that  laws  which  are  /';/  force  may  be  really 
enforced.  The  gentleman's  laborious  effort,  therefore,  to  demolish  the  theory  of 
Senator  Sumner  in  regard  to  the  suicide  of  the  rebel  States  has  no  pertinency 
whatever  in  this  discussion.  All  the  positions  I  have  assumed,  and  all  the 
arguments  I  have  made  use  of  to  sustain  these  positions,  have  expressly  negatived 
the  theory  of  Mr.  Sumner,  and  therefore  I  am  not  called  upon  to  notice  it  further. 
I  have  merely  to  say  in  leaving  this  topic  that  the  argument  which  maintains 
that  the  States  would  have  to  be  out  of  the  Union,  before  a  contest  with  their 
rebellious  inhabitants  could  be  conducted  as  a  civil  war,  is  nothing  short  of  an 
Irish  bull  of  the  most  grotesque  description.  If  the  States  are  not  members  of 
the  Union  they  are  a  foreign  power,  and  of  course  a  contest  with  their  people 
could  not  be  a  civil  war.  The  very  essence  of  a  civil  war  consists  in  its  being 
a  strife  between  members  properly  subject  to  the  same  sovereign  authority. 
And  the  dilemma  herein  suggested,  ridiculous  if  not  contemptible,  is  the  same 
which  has  driven  the  gentleman  to  deny,  as  he  has  done,  that  this  contest  is 
either  a  "  foreign  war  "  or  a  "  civil  war."  He  had  to  manufacture  a  new  kind 
of  war — "  domestic  "  he  styled  it — in  order,  as  he  hoped,  to  escape  the  abs,urd 
conclusions  which  some  of  his  propositions  led  to.  The  gentleman  setting  out 
with  radically  erroneous  premises  could  do  nothing  else  than  wander  away  from 
the  landmarks  of  truth  and  sound  logic — and  there  he  continues  to  wander  "  in 
endless  mazes  lost." 

I  have  now,  sir,  at  somewhat  greater  length  than  I  designed  when  I  rose, 
discussed  the  question  of  constitutional  power,  so  far  as  it  is  brought  into  issue 
by  the  pending  resolves.  I  have  endeavored  to  establish  as  essential  to  the 
maintenance  of  my  position  two  propositions :  First,  that  the  war  power  of  this 
Government  is  lodged  in  Congress  ;  and  'second,  that  under  every  principle  and 
every  precedent  of  international  law  the  Government  of  the  United  States,  while 
sovereign  over  all,  has,  so  long  as  the  rebellion    endures,  all   the  rights  of    war 


against  those  who  in  armed  force  are  seeking  the  life  of  the  nation.  If  I  have 
established  these  propositions,  I  have  demonstrated  the  amplest  power  to  adopt 
the  measures  proposed  in  the  resolves  before  us.  If  we  have  these  powers  we 
may  do  with  and  towards  the  rebels  of  the  Confederate  States,  so-called,  precise^ 
as  we  would  and  did  towards  Mexico ;  and  I  have  given  the  authority  of 
Hamilton,  and  Kent,  and  Webster,  and  John  Quincy  Adams,  and  President 
Lincoln,  to  show  that  the  specific  line  of  policy  as  regards  the  property  of  the 
enemy  is  to  be  dictated  by  Congress.  With  this  brief  summary  I  proceed  to 
discuss  the  second  branch  of  my  subject,  which  has  reference  to  the  expediency 
of  adopting  the  resolves  before  us. 

The  first  resolve,  endorsing  the  administration  in  general  terms,  is,  I  believe, 
not  objected  to  in  any  quarter,  and  is  not  in  dispute  between  the  gentleman 
from  Thomaston  and  myself.  The  only  objection  I  have  to  it,  is  that  it  is  cold, 
and  stiff  and  formal,  whereas  to  reflect  my  feelings  it  should  be  warm  and  cordial 
and  unreserved.  I  am  for  the  administration  through  and  through — being  an 
early  and  unflinching  believer  in  the  ability,  the  honesty  and  patriotism  of 
Abraham  Lincoln,  I  did  in  my  humble  sphere,  both  with  pen  and  tongue,  all  I 
could  to  promote  his  election ;  and  while  I  was  thus  engaged  the  gentleman 
was  denouncing  him  as  a  Black  Republican  and  an  Abolitionist  and  a  Dis- 

We  have  not  space  here  to  make  more  than  a  fragmentary  presentation  of 
this  speech  of  Blaine's  in  the  State  Legislature.  It  is  inserted  to  show  the  spirit 
and  manner  of  the  man  at  the  time  of  his  first  impact  on  national  opinion.  We 
may  note,  in  his  speech,  almost  every  quality  of  the  mind  and  manner  of  the 
man  in  his  future  larger  growth.  There  is  the  same  spirit  and  verve ;  the  same 
style  of  intellectual  attack  and  parry ;  the  same  vigor  of  personality  ;  the  same 
cogent  and  persistent  argumentation  from  beginning  to  end.  Blaine  was,  long 
before  the  attainment  of  his  thirtieth  year,  an  able  and  severe  debater  against 
whom  the  enemy  must  be  wary  or  suffer  a  thrust. 

We  here  pause  to  note  only  one  or  two  additional  circumstances  in  the 
first  period  of  the  life  and  career  of  Blaine  at  Augusta.  It  is  clear  in  the 
retrospect  that  he  was  a  rising  man.  He  was  easily  and  consecutively  re-elected 
to  the  Legislature  and  to  the  speakership.  His  support  was  enthusiastic  and 
faithful.  In  1869  he  was  appointed  prison  commissioner  for  the  State  of  Maine. 
While  holding  that  office  he  developed  remarkable  capacity  for  the  discharge  of 
its  duties.  Perhaps  no  other  incumbent  of  the  office  ever  performed  the  services 
connected  therewith  more  energetically,  rationally,  successfully.  It  was  always 
his  manner  to  study  well  the  thing  in  hand.  His  power  of  investigation  was 
very  great.  He  is  hardly  on  record  anywhere  as  having  spoken  rashly  on  a 
subject  with  which  he  was  unacquainted.  He  had  almost  Garfield's  faculty  for 
details  and  statistics.  While  prison  commissioner  he  investigated  the  condition 
of  the  State  Institution  and  many  of  the  minor  prisons,  producing  as  the  result 
of  his  study  and  observations  a  report  with  recommendations  and  statistical  tables 



much  valued  as  an  authority  to  the  present  time.  He  also  received  the  ap- 
pointment of  State  Printer,  and  discharged  the  duties  of  that  office  with  signal 
success.  He  became  familiar  with  all  the  details  of  printing  and  publication 
to  such  a  degree  that  in  after  life  he  always  knew  the  facts  and  methods  in 
the  great  printing  establishments  of  the  Government. 

As  to  Blaine's  Republicanism,  that  became  more  and  more  intense.  While  he 
had  not  been  an  original  supporter  of  Fremont,  he  was  an  original  Lincoln  man. 
It  is  evident  that  his  imagination  and  judgment  were  fairly  conquered  by  the  Lin- 
colnian  debates  with  Douglas.  Those  debates  became  a  sort  of  text  and  final  appeal 
for  a  great  part  of  the  political  controversy  which  followed,  as  they  were  the  key 
to  the  principles  out  of  which  the  current  history  of  our  country  was  deduced. 
In   1S60,  Blaine    went   as    a  delegate  to  the  Republican  National  Convention    at 

Chicago  and  there 
worked  assiduously 
for  the  nomination 
of  Lincoln.  The 
Maine  delegation  had 
been  virtually  in- 
structed for  Seward. 
There  was,  however,  a 
strong  Lincoln  senti- 
ment among  the  dele- 
gates, and  of  this 
Blaine  became  the 
mouth-piece  and  ex- 
ponent. When  it 
came  to  the  balloting 
the  delegation  was  di- 
vided between  Seward 
and  Lincoln,  and 
Blaine  succeeded  in  casting  the  votes  of  his  adherents  for  the  successful  candi- 
date. It  is  claimed,  indeed,  that  his  persistency  in  this  particular  was  one  of 
the  factors  which  finally  determined  the  defeat  of  Seward  and  the  nomination 
of  Lincoln. 

From  this  time  forth  the  life  of"  Blaine  merges  rapidly  into  the  history  of 
the  country.  He  took  an  active  part  in  the  quadrangular  presidential  contest 
of  i860,  and  hailed  with  enthusiasm  the  election  of  his  favorite.  After  that 
event,  all  things  went  with  a  whirl  down  into  the  gorge  of  war ;  out  went 
Carolina  and  out  went  all  the  rest,  singly  or  by  twos  or  threes,  until  the  work 
of  secession  was  accomplished,  Sumter  was  fatally  struck  in  the  side ;  the  flag 
of  the  nation  was  insulted  and  dragged  down ;  the  heart  of  the  North  was 
inflamed  to  battle-pitch ;  the  armies  began  to  rise,  and  the  clash  of  arms  was  soon 
heard  beyond  the  Potomac. 


98  LIFE   AND   WORK   OF  JAMES   G.    BLAINE. 

It  would  appear  that  Blaine  ought  to  have  had  an  earlier  start  by  at  least 
a  year  at  the  National  Capital.  Circumstances,  however,  hedged  his  way  for  a 
brief  period  and  it  was  not  until  1862  that  he  was  able  to  show  himself  in  the 
arena.  In  that  year  Anson  P.  Morrill,  Representative  of  the  Augusta  district 
in  the  House  of  Representatives,  voluntarily  declined  a  re-election.  An  oppor- 
tunity was  offered  for  the  popular  favorite  to  compete  for  congressional  honors. 
The  competition,  however,  was  quite  one-sided.  The  public  voice  was  for  Blaine. 
Everything  went  with  a  whirl  in  his  favor.  He  was  nominated  as  if  by 
common  consent  and  in  October  of  1S62  was  elected  Representative  of  his  adopted 
district  by  a  majority  of  three  thousand  votes.  He  stood  at  that  time  for  nearly 
every  principle  to  which  the  people  of  Maine  were  devoted,  and  his  election,  at 
the  age  of  thirty-two,  came  as  the  natural  result  of  antecedent  conditions. 

We  may  well  suppose  that  the  period  of  nearly  a  twelve-month,  between 
the  date  of  his  election  and  his  taking  his  seat  in  Congress,  was  to  Blaine  a 
time  of  restlessness  and  anxiety.  Nevertheless,  the  delay  was  advantageous. 
Events  began  to  declare  themselves.  That  which  had  been  chaotic  and  almost 
desperate  at  the  start  cleared  a  little,  and  the  outline  of  new  continents  was 
seen  here  and  there.  From  October  of  1862  to  December  of  1863,  many  things 
were  revealed  which  had  hitherto  been  obscure  or  wholly  unperceived.  The 
first  strokes  of  the  war  had  been  against  the  national  cause.  But  with 
September  of  '62  the  charge  of  the  Confederacy  was  arrested  at  Antietam.  Not, 
however,  until  the  following  year,  in  mid-summer,  at  Vicksburg  and  Gettysburg, 
were  the  first  staggering  blows  dealt  by  the  Union  arm  on  the  great  insurrection. 
After  that,  events  tended  ever  to  the  inevitable  conclusion. 

In  like  manner  the  intervening  period  (1862-63)  was  decisive  of  much  on 
the  civil  and  political  side.  Now  it  was  that  the  great  question  of  emancipation 
came  to  a  crisis  and  found  its  solution  in  the  brain  and  heart  of  Lincoln. 
Before  Blaine  took  his  seat  in  Congress,  namely,  on  the  seventh  of  December, 
1863,  African  slavery  in  the  United  States  had  virtually  ceased  to  exist.  But  the 
deed  of  freedom  was  still  new.  All  of  its  issues  and  results  were  of  the  future. 
Perhaps  not  one  of  the  rising  young  statesmen  of  that  day  availed  himself 
more  completely  of  the  opportunity  of  study  and  watchfulness  than  did  Blaine 
in  the  period  preceding  his  first  sitting  in  the  House  of  Representatives.  At 
length  the  time  arrived,  and  he  removed  from  Augusta  where  he  had  now  resided 
for  nine  years.  Henceforth  he  must  be  judged  by  the  standards  of  adult 
manhood  and  by  the  measure  of  accomplishment.  We  have  followed  his  personal 
career  along  the  ordinary  avenues  of  life  until  finally  he  emerges  into  the 
unusual.  Whether  the  unusual  shall  become  the  extraordinary,  and  the  extra- 
ordinary become  the  great,  remains  to  be  developed  in  the  sequel. 



[HE  entrance  of  a  Representative  into  the  Congress  of 
the  United  States  must  needs  mark  an    epoch    in    his 
life.     It  is    an    event    calculated    to    make    a    deep  im- 
pression on  the  mind  of  a  man,  particularly  if  he  be 
young.      Such    an    elevation    to    place    is    regarded    in 
our  country  as  a  badge  of  honor   not   easily  won  and 
to   be    lost    with    the    greatest    regret.      It    cannot    be 
doubted  that  a  life   in  Washington    is    full   of  excite- 
ment,   ambition,    pleasure.      Many    men    it    stimulates 
to    extraordinary    exertion    and     many    it    destroys.       It    were 
vain  to  try  to  estimate  the    blasted  ambitions    that  have  been 
blown    into  nothing  like    withered    leaves    around   the    capital. 
It    were    equally    vain    to    imagine    the    projects,  schemes    and 
aspirations    that   have   found  there   partial    or    complete    fulfill- 

On  the  seventh  of  December,  1863,  the  thirty-eighth 
Congress  assembled  and  began  its  work.  There  appeared  on 
that  day,  in  the  hall  of  the  House  of  Representatives,  a 
number  of  men  destined  to  distinction,  and  the  most  of  them 
were  young.  Several  aspirants  were  still  inside  of  thirty-five. 
Among  those  Representatives  who  were  already  prominent  in 
public  affairs  were  George  S.  Boutwell,  the  two  Washburnes, 
Henry  L,.  Dawes,  William  D.  Kelley,  Samuel  S.  Cox,  William  S.  Holman, 
Daniel  W.  Voorhees  and  others.  Of  the  3^oung  men  now  first  appearing  on 
the  scene  were  William  B.  Allison,  of  Iowa ;  William  Windom,  of  Minnesota ; 
George  H.  Pendleton,  of  Ohio ;  Samuel  J.  Randall,  of  Pennsylvania,  and  James 
A.  Garfield,  of  Ohio.  It  was  in  this  group  that  the  young  Representative 
from  the  Kennebec  district  of  Maine  arose  and  stood.  He  was  in  his  thirty- 
fourth  year.  He  was  of  full  stature  and  of  really  noble  proportion.  His 
manners  were  easy  and  his  self-possession  remarkable.  His  head  was  covered 
with  a  mass  of  reddish  dark  hair.  He  wore  a  beard  full,  but  neatly  trimmed, 
of  the  same  color.  His  face  was  open  and  expressive.  Of  all  his  features  his 
eyes  were  the  most  attractive  and  magnetic.  They  were  large,  dark,  lustrous 
and  turned  in  this  direction  and  in  that.  His  presence  was  of  a  kind  to 
make  him  a  man  of  note  in  any  audience  of  the  world. 


100  LIFE   AND   WORK   OF  JAMES   G.   BLAINE. 

It  is  narrated  that  Samuel  S.  Cox,  known  everywhere  by  his  sobriquet  of 
"  Sunset,"  was  one  of  the  first  to  measure  the  new  statesman,  or,  as  we 
should  say,  to  size  him  up.  Greatly  impressed  with  his  appearance,  he  spoke 
to  Samuel  J.  Randall,  of  Pennsylvania,  and  inquired  who  the  new-comer  might 
be.  Randall  replied :  "  His  name  is  Blaiue ;  he  is  a  native  of  my  own 
State ;  was  born  near  the  town  of  Washington ;  was  educated  in  the  college 
there,  and  I  afterwards  met  him  iu  Philadelphia,  where  he  was  a  teacher.  I 
have  heard  of  him  in  Maine,  where  he  is  regarded  as  a  man  of  great  promise 
and  much  political  ability."  The  same  kind  of  remark  was  made  among 
Blaine's  colleagues,  many  of  whom  looked  upon  him  with  admiration,  while 
some  from  the  first  regarded  him  with  jealousy. 

It  is  not  possible,  at  this  distance,  to  know  how  Blaine  regarded  himself. 
It  is  said  that  the  world  takes  a  man  at  his  own  estimate,  though  this  is 
doubtful.  If  we  mistake  not,  Blaine  had  always  a  high  opinion  of  his  own 
capacities  and  of  his  rightful  place  in  the  political  rank.  No  doubt  he 
thought  that  the  rightful  place  was  the  first  place.  But  he  was,  withal,  a 
man  of  modesty.  Whatever  egotism  he  possessed  was  generally  veiled  under 
a  disguise  of  modest  demeanor  and  was  at  the  same  time  accented  with  his 
natural  diffidence.  We  are  now  to  follow  him  in  the  House  of  Representatives, 
from  his  entrance  into  that  body  until  his  election  to  the  speakership.  This 
will  constitute  the  first  passage  in  his  congressional  career. 

A  man  in  Congress  is  rarely  conspicuous  at  first.  He  must  accept  his 
place  at  the  foot  of  the  class.  He  may  rise,  but  if  so,  he  must  do  it  by  merit 
and  demonstration.  The  new  member  is  generally  attached  to  the  committees 
in  a  subordinate  relation.  He  has  to  content  himself  with  following  the 
leadership  of  his  seniors — seniors  in  experience  and  possibly  in  ability.  When 
Blaine  entered  Congress  the  speakership  rested  with  Schuyler  Colfax,  of 
Indiana.  Under  his  appointment  the  young  statesman  from  Maine  was  given  a 
place  on  the  Committee  on  Military  Affairs  and  also  on  the  Committee  on  Post 
Offices.  The  former  position,  considering  that  the  war  was  now  in  its  climax, 
was  one  of  great  responsibility.  In  that  committee  the  important  military  legis- 
lation of  the  times  must  originate.  Such  measures,  however,  were  generally 
devised  by  the  chairman  of  the  committee  and  by  him  submitted  to  his  col- 
leagues for  discussion  and  final  form.  It  was  in  these  relations  that  Blaine 
met  his  first  practical  duties  in  the  Congress  of  the  United  States. 

It  is  of  record  that  such  work  as  fell  to  him  in  his  first  session  was,  from 
the  very  beginning,  done  with  a  care  and  thoroughness  which  very  soon 
attracted  the  attention  and  praise  of  his  colleagues.  There  was  much  in  this 
regard  in  common  with  Blaine  and  Garfield.  They  both  had  the  habit  of 
exhaustive  work.  They  were  willing  to  undergo  the  study  and  investigation 
requisite  for  knowing,  not  only  the  outlines,  but  the  very  elements  of  every 
question  which  came  before  them,  for  consideration.  If  we  mistake  not,  it  is  in 
this  regard  that  the  educated  and  informed  man  has    his    superiority    over    the 


uneducated  and  the  uninformed.  The  latter,  when  confronted  with  the  question, 
is  obliged  to  consider  it  in  the  light  of  such  limited  information  as  he  may 
possess,  aided  by  the  torch  of  his  own  understanding.  But  the  like  question, 
going  into  the  hands  of  one  who  is  both  scholar  and  statesman,  is  at  once 
illumined  by  all  the  resources  of  his  information — and  they  are  nian}'.  His 
habit,  moreover,  formed  from  boyhood  of  study  and  patient  investigation,  will 
lead  him  to  go  down  to  the  fundamentals  of  the  question  and  solve  it  much  as 
the  student  solves  his  problem  in  algebra. 

Blaine  had  this  habit.  It  possessed  him  as  thoroughly  as  it  possessed 
Garfield.  He  very  soon  gained  the  reputation  in  the  House  of  being  a  well- 
informed  man.  The  members  began  to  approach  him  for  information  and 
judgment  on  questions  that  were  too  remote  or  profound  for  their  own  knowledge. 
Hardly  ever  was  Blaine  approached  in  this  manner  that  he  did  not  respond 
with  readiness  and  lucidity  to  the  interrogator,  and  in  proportion  as  he  did  so, 
his  reputation  as  an  authority  on  man}'  subjects  was    enhanced. 

As  to  public  speech  in  the  House,  he  was  chary  of  utterance.  He  spoke 
little  at  first,  or  not  at  all.  He  took  care,  in  his  initial  passages,  to  measure 
what  he  said  with  his  old-time  editorial  accuracy.  The  result  was  that  the 
record  of  his  remarks  always  showed  up  well  for  the  speaker.  He  appears  to 
have  been  unusually  careful  of  what  he  said,  particularly  if  it  was  to  become 
of  record.  As  a  record  maker,  few  have  surpassed  him.  When  his  words  came 
to  print  they  were,  if  not  positively  unassailable,  at  least  assailable  only  from 
those  points  of  attack  which  the  speaker  had  foreseen  and  at  which  he  was  ready 
to  stand  in  defence.     In  short,  Blaine  was  not  the  man  to  make  mistakes. 

Behind  him  lay  his  experience  in  the  Legislature  of  Maine.  In  that  smaller 
arena  he  had  been  the  presiding  officer.  In  such  relation  he  had  become  a  quick 
and  careful  parliamentarian.  Before  the  close  of  his  first  term  of  service  in  the 
House  of  Representatives  he  was  able  to  follow  the  course  of  business  and  to 
watch  the  Speaker's  rulings  with  the  astuteness  of  a  veteran.  His  motions  were 
always  in  order.  His  objections  were  not  to  be  lightly  put  aside  and  his  points 
of  order  almost  invariably  stuck. 

It  is  needless  to  remark  here  upon  the  vastness  of  the  questions  that  were 
now  at  the  fore  in  the  House  of  Representatives.  It  was  indeed  a  stormy  epoch. 
The  war-blasts  swept  over  and  under.  The  nation  quaked  with  the  earth-shock 
and  the  clouds  of  battle  were  blown  half-way  across  the  continent.  Fields  were 
stained  with  crimson  from  the  Rappahannock  and  Hatteras  to  Yazoo  and  the 
Ozark  Mountains.  Besides  the  battle-storm,  all  the  concomitant  questions  of 
war  arose,  and  must  be  answered.  There  was  the  financial  question  in  all  of 
its  prodigious  extent  and  ramifications.  How  should  the  expenses  of  the  war  be 
met  ?  How  should  the  portentous  debt  be  handled  ?  How  should  the  national 
credit  be  maintained  ?  How  should  the  treasury  be  replenished  ?  How  should 
the  soldiers  be  paid  and  fed  ?  What  kind  of  financial  institutions  should  be 
planted  in  place  of  the  old  banking  concerns    which    had    flourished  before   the 

102  LIFE   AND   WORK    OF  JAMES   G.   BLAINE. 

war  ?  What  kind  of  money  should  the  people  have  withal  when  gold  and  silver 
had  stolen  their  sneaking  march  to  foreign  lands  and  into  the  boxes  of  Shylocks  ? 

All  of  these  questions  and  problems — most  practical  and  pressing — must  be 
boldly  met  by  Congress.  They  must  be  met,  not  by  precedent  and  experience, 
but  in  the  absence  of  both.  Among  the  many  who  set  themselves  to  the  patient 
investigation  of  the  issues  of  the  war,  none  was  more  industrious  or  thorough 
than  James  E.  Blaine.  Meanwhile,  before  the  close  of  his  term,  he  began  to 
speak  freely  and  successfully  on  the  floor  of  the  House.  Already  the  premoni- 
tions of  the  great  contest  of  future  years  on  free  trade  and  protection  might  be 
seen  and  felt.  The  Government  had  been  virtually  obliged  to  resort  to  high 
protective  schedules,  in  order  to  replenish  the  exhausted  treasury.  These  schedules 
were  prepared  with  a  view  to  furnishing  a  revenue,  but  they  acted  from  the 
start  as  a  measure  of  protection  to  certain  industries. 

Those  industries  belonged  rather  to  the  older  than  to  the  newer  States  of 
the  Union.  It  was  alleged  that  New  England  was  in  particular  favored  by  the 
results  of  the  tariff  laws.  This  state  of  affairs  soon  excited  the  jealousy  of  the 
producing  West,  and  the  politicians  of  the  West,  especially  those  of  the  Democratic 
minority,  were  quick  to  seize  the  occasion  as  an  argumentum  ad  prejudiciam 
and  to  turn  it  against  the  dominant  party.  In  June  of  1864,  the  astute  and 
aggressive  Samuel  S.  Cox,  of  Ohio,  attacked  the  tariff  law  and  made  a  plausible 
and  effective  speech,  in  which  he  contrasted  the  results  of  that  law  in  their 
effects  upon  the  industries  of  New  England  and  those  of  the  West,  particularly 
those  of  his  own  State. 

The  manner  and  matter  of  this  speech  were  well  calculated  to  excite  Blaine 
and  to  bring  the  best  qualities  of  his  mind  into  action.  He  replied  to  the 
Representative  from  Ohio  in  an  able  speech,  one  of  his  first  formal  products  in 
the  House.  It  was  in  the  nature  of  audacity  that  the  young  member  from  Maine 
should  measure  swords  with  the  experienced  Cox,  who  was,  as  the  world  knows, 
a  wit  as  well  as  a  statesman — a  man  as  dangerous  in  the  handling  as  Benjamin 
F.  Butler  himself.  That  Blaine,  at  the  age  of  thirty-four  and  serving  his  first 
term,  had  the  courage  to  enter  the  list  against  him  and  the  ability  to  stand 
with  credit  in  the  contest  must  be  set  down  to  the  praise  of  his  ability  and 

From  this  time  forth  encounters  of  the  kind  just  referred  to  became  the 
incidents  of  Blaine's  congressional  life.  He  was  quick  to  whip  out  his  sword, 
and  the  provocation  was  nearly  always  of  a  nature  to  be  discussed  by  the  people. 
There  was  in  this  an  element  of  leadership.  It  was  admirable  politics  on 
Blaine's  part  to  strike  only  when  the  blow  would  be  effective.  We  have  not 
here  space  to  recite  much  of  his  congressional  history,  and  it  is  not  in  accordance 
with  our  plan  to  quote  at  length  from  his  speeches  and  debates.  That  work 
we  shall  perform  in   another  part  of  this  volume. 

In  a  general  way,  we  may  note  the  progress  of  political  events.  Blaine 
went  into  Congress  at  the  middle  of    Lincoln's    administration.       That  adminis- 



tration  fared  on  through  storm  and  tempest  and  trial  of  opposition  and  buffeting 
to  emerge  in  triumph  from  the  presidential  struggle  of  1864.  Against  Lincoln 
and  his  methods — not  to  say  against  the  war  itself — the  Democracy  was  exceedingly 
mad.  That  party  had  been  reduced  to  a  minimum,  but  not  extinguished.  It 
has  been  a  hard  party  to  destroy.  Even  in  the  midst  of  the  war  it  revived  like  a 
battered  pugilist  and  held  up  its  fists  grimly  for  the  round  of  1S64.  It  declared 
that  the  war  had  proved  a  failure ;  that  there  should  be  an  armistice ;  that 
negotiations  should  begin  with  the  Southern  insurgents  already  beaten  almost 
to  the  earth ;  that  the  resources  of  statesmanship  must  now  be  exhausted  in 
the  effort  to  restore  peace  by 
a  method  other  than  vi  et 
armis.  As  the  representative 
of  these  sentiments  the  De- 
mocracy put  up  the  popular 
ex-General  of  the  Union 
armies,  George  B.  McClellan, 
thus  paradoxically  associating 
or  attempting  to  associate  mili- 
tary heroism  with  the  spirit 
of  anti-war.  The  banner 
which  they  put  up  had  two 
coats  of  arms,  one  of  which 
was  an  escutcheon  filled  with 
a  symbolism  which  loyal  men 
at  the  North  were  said  not 
to  understand,  and  the  other 
of  which  was  a  war  shield 
blazoned  with  victory  and 
arms.  The  two  did  not  con- 
sist !  Nevertheless,  the  ban- 
ner was  lifted  up  against  Lin- 
coln and  the  world  was  able 
to  read  an  in  hoc  signo  vinces, 
in  which  the  "  hoc'1''  was  very  gen.  geo.  b.  mcclei-lan. 

difficult  to  determine.  The  "hoc"  seemed  to  have  two  sides  to  it,  one  of 
which  read  "  Victory  "over  Disunion  and  Dismemberment,"  and  the  other 
of  which  read,   "  Surrender  and  Lie  Down  !  " 

Such  ambiguity  was  not  pleasing  to  the  American  people.  Lincoln  was 
triumphantly  re-elected.  Coincidently  with  this,  Blaine  was  chosen  for  his  second 
term  in  the  'House.  His  work  in  that  body  had  been  heartily  approved  by  the 
people  of  his  district  and  there  was  little  opposition  to  his  re-election.  We  may  here 
insert,  as  exemplifying  his  thought  and  manner  at  this  epoch,  the  letter  in  which 
he  accepted    his  re-nomination  for  membership  in  the  Thirty-ninth  Congress : — 


n  T    „    „  Augusta,  August  20,  1864. 

General  J.  R.  Bachelder  :—  &  t 

Dear  Sir  : — I  am  in  receipt  of  your  favor  formally  advising  me  that  on 
the  tenth  instant,  the  Union  Convention  of  the  Third  District  unanimously 
nominated  me  for  re-election  as  Representative  in  Congress.  For  this  generous 
action,  as  well  as  for  the  cordial  manner  attending  it,  and  the  very  compli- 
mentary phrase  in  which  it  is  conveyed,  I  am  under  profound  obligations.  It 
is  far  easier  for  me  to  find  the  inspiring  cause  of  such  favor  and  such 
unanimity  in  the  personal  partiality  of  friends,  than  in  any  merits  or  services 
which   I  may  justly  claim  as  my  own. 

In  nominating  me  as  the  Union  candidate,  and  pledging  me  to  no  other 
platform,  3^ou  place  me  on  the  precise  ground  I  desire  to  occupy.  The  controlling 
and  absorbing  issue  before  the  American  people  is  whether  the  Federal  Union  shall 
be  saved  or  lost.  In  comparison  with  that,  all  other  issues  and  controversies 
are  subordinate,  and  entitled  to  consideration  just  in  the  degree  that  they  may 
influence  the  end  which  Washington  declared  to  be  "  the  primary  object  of 
patriotic  desire."  To  maintain  the  Union  a  gigantic  war  has  been  carried  on, 
now  in  the  fourth  year  of  its  duration,  and  the  resources  of  the  country,  both  in 
men  and  money,  have  been  freely  expended  in  support  of  it.  The  war  was  not  a 
matter  of  choice  with  the  Government,  unless  it  was  prepared  to  surrender  its 
power  over  one-half  of  its  territory  and  incur  all  the  hazards  of  anarchy  throughout 
the  other  half.  It  was  begun  by  those  who  sought  to  overthrow  the  Federal 
authority.  It  should  be  ended  the  very  day  that  authority  is  recognized  and 
re-established  throughout  its  rightful  domain. 

The  desire  for  peace  after  the  sufferings  and  trials  of  the  past  three  years 
is  natural.  Springing  from  the  very  instincts  of  humanity,  it  is  irrepressible. 
The  danger  to  be  avoided  is  that  in  aiming  to  attain  peace  we  shall  be  deceived 
by  the  shadow  and  thus  fail  to  secure  the  substance.  Peace  on  the  basis  of 
disunion  is  a  dehision.  It  is  no  peace  at  all.  It  is  but  the  beginning  of  war 
— more  wasteful,  more  destructive,  more  cruel  than  we  have  thus  far  experienced. 
Those  who  cry  for  the  "immediate  cessation  of  the  war  "  are  the  best  advocates 
of  its  endless  continuance.  They  mean  peace  by  the  recognition  of  rebel  inde- 
pendence, and  rebel  independence  is  absolutely  incompatible  with  peace. 

Among  the  cherished  errors  of  those  who  are  willing  to  acknowledge  the 
Southern  Confederacy  as  the  basis  of  peace,  the  most  fatal  is  that  which  assumes 
the  continued  union,  harmony  and  power  of  the  loyal  States.  This  cannot 
be.  Contentions  and  strifes  without  number  would  at  once  spring  up. 
The  border  States  would  be  convulsed  with  fierce  contest  as  to  which 
section  they  would  adhere  to.  The  Pacific  slope,  to  escape  the  dangers  and 
constant  embroilments  which  it  could  neither  control  nor  avoid,  would  naturally 
seek  for  independence;  and  the  Northwest,  if  it  did  not  follow  the  example, 
would  demand  such  a  reconstruction  of  the  government  of  the  remaining  States 
as  would    make  our    further  connection    therewith  undesirable  if  not  absolutely 

LIFE   AND   WORK   OF  JAMES   G.    BLAINE.  105 

intolerable.  In  short  disunion  upon  the  line  of  the  revolted  States  would  involve 
the  total  and  speedy  disintegration  of  the  Federal  Government,  and  we  would 
find  ourselves  launched  on  "  a  sea  of  troubles,"  with  no  pilot  capable  of  holding 
the  helm,  and  no  chart  to  guide  us  on  our  perilous  voyage. 

There  is  indeed  but  one  path  of  safety,  and  that  is  likewise  the  path  of 
honor  and  of  interest.  JVc  must  preserve  the  Union.  Differ  as  we  may  as  to 
the  measures  necessary  to  that  end,  there  shall  be  no  difference  among  loyal 
men  as  to  the  end  itself.  No  sacrifice  we  can  make  in  our  efforts  to  save  the 
Union  is  comparable  with  that  we  should  all  make  in  losing  it.  He  is  the 
enemy  to  both  sections  and  to  the  common  cause  of  humanity  and  civilization  who 
is  willing  to  conclude  the  war  by  surrendering  the  Union ;  and  the  most  alarm- 
ing development  of  the  times  is  the  disposition  manifested  by  leading  journals, 
by  public  men  and  b\-  political  conventions  in  the  loyal  States  to  accept  this 
conclusion.  For  niyself,  in  the  limited  sphere  of  my  influence  I  shall  never 
consent  to  such  a  delusive  settlement  of  our  troubles.  Neither  at  the  polls  as 
an  American  citizen,  nor  in  Congress  as  a  Representative  (should  I  again  be 
chosen),  will  I  ever  give  a  vote  admitting  even  the  possibility  of  ultimate  failure 
in  this  great  struggle  for  nationality. 

Very  respectfully,  your  obedient  servant, 

J.  G.  Blaine. 

The  election  of  Blaine  for  a  second  term  went  on  almost  by  consent.  His 
majority  was  very  large  and  with  the  opening  of  the  first  session  of  the  Thirty- 
ninth  Congress,  he  took  his  place  with  eclat.  His  committee  work  was  virtually 
the  same  as  in  the  preceding  session.  He  was  retained  on  the  Committee  on 
Military  Affairs,  but  still  as  a  subordinate  member.  Perhaps  it  was  not  \ery 
just' to  withhold  from  him  some  important  chairmanship.  However  this  may  be, 
he  now  began  to  rise  rapidly  to  the  attention  of  the  House  and  presently  of 
the  whole  country.  It  was  in  the  Thirty-ninth  Congress  that  he  entered  the 
ascendant  and  began  to  assert  himself  as  one  of  the  leaders  of  his  party. 

The  day  of  Appomatox  had  now  passed.  The  iron-hearted  Lee  had  given 
his  sword  to  the  silent  man  of  Galena.  The  Confederacy  was  down — hope- 
lessly down ;  and  the  question  of  restoration  took  the  place  of  the  question 
of  salvation  and  repression.  The  reader,  if  he  have  well  perused  the  history 
of  these  times,  knows  how  issues  of  the  greatest  moment  rushed  in  and  banked 
themselves  against  the  Government  and  people  of  the  United  States.  One  of 
the  leading  questions  which  arose  at  the  very  start  was  that  of  the  new  basis 
of  representation.  The  inequity  of  the  old  basis  had  become  manifest  along 
with  much  else  of  that  constitutional  system,  which  had  prevailed  under  the 
compromises  made  by  the  fathers.  The  old  South  had  had  representation  for 
its  slaves.  Now,  slavery  was  swept  away.  The  Dred  Scott  decision  had  been 
blown  by  battle  blast  into  the  limbo  next  the  moon.  The  negro  had  become 
first  a  man  and  then  a  citizen.  Perhaps,  after  the  lapse  of  a  half-century,  he 
will  become  a  brother  also  !     Certainly  the  old  basis  of  representation  can  stand 

■JMil'iii  in     mi  J 

LIFE   AND   WORK   OF  JAMES   G.    BLAINE.  107 

no  longer.  We  must  have  a  new.  Not  only  three-fifths  of  the  negro  but 
ySW-fifths  of  him  shall  be  counted,  and,  horrible  dictum  !  he  shall  be  counted  in 
his  own  interest  and  represent  himself. 

This  shall  be  not  effected,  however,  without  great  opposition.  The  Old  Order 
will  muster  itself  against  it.  But  the  progressive  and  aggressive  leaders  of  the 
dominant  party  will  favor  justice  and  right  and  will  fight  for  it,  even  to  the 
extent  of  declaring  that  a  man  may  be  a  man,  aye,  shall  be  a  man  !  his  black 
skin  to  the  contrary  notwithstanding.  Among  those  who  took  ground  advanced 
and  still  ever  more  advanced  on  this  subject  was  Blaine.  He  planted  himself 
in  favor  of  a  new  basis  of  representation  in  Congress,  in  which  the  old  feudal 
element  should  be  struck  out  and  a  new  principle  of  representation,  according 
to  the  number  of  voters,  should  be  substituted  therefor.  This  question  gave  him 
much  concern  and  he  delivered,  in  favor  of  his  views,  one  of  his  great  speeches 
in  the  House. 

Now  it  was,  namely,  near  the  beginning  of  Blaine's  second  term  in  Congress 
and  just  as  his  elements  of  great  leadership  began  to  appear — just  as  he  himself 
came  to  discover  in  himself  the  powers  and  capacities  which  he  possessed  to 
fascinate,  control  and  dominate  his  party — that,  in  corresponding  measure, 
remarkable  personal  antagonisms  appeared  as  the  incidence  of  his  political  life. 
These  began  as  the  result  of  debates,  which  came  naturally  in  the  line  of  his 
duties ;  but  they  ramified  and  acquired  an  independent  character.  Blaine  was 
a  member  of  the  Committee  on  Ways  and  Means,  of  which  Thaddeus  Stevens 
was  chairman,  and  was  also  a  member  of  the  special  Committee  of  Fifteen, 
which  had  been  appointed  to  consider  the  whole  question  of  reconstruction. 
Out  of  these  relations  Blaine,  with  his  ceaseless  activity,  became  more  and  more 
prominent  in  the  House,  and  from  this  time  forth  his  personal  battles,  some  of 
which  were  with  the  Democratic  leaders  and  others  with  the  leaders  of  his  own 
party,  became  not  only  frequent  but  spectacular. 

We  may  here  consider  for  a  moment  the  political  complexion  of  affairs  at 
that  time.  The  Republican  party  had  already  begun  to  run  the  course  of  all 
parties  soever.  This  is  to  say,  that  two  or  three  elements  had  appeared  in  it 
which  were  no  longer  in  accord.  The  reader  knows  how  ten  years  later  these 
two  elements,  under  the  organic  catch-words  of  Half-breed  and  Stalwart,  came 
near  rending  the  party  asunder  by  the  violence  of  a  factional  fight.  In  general, 
it  may  be  said,  that  the  stalwart  principle  included  the  element  of  the  party 
which  believed  in  doing  things  by  means  of  party  organization  and  by  the 
fidelity  of  friend  to  friend  and  loyalty  to  the  party  named.  The  other  division 
held  these  things  more  loosely ;  we  might  sa}'  held  them  more  rationally  and 
with  less  tenacity.  Up  to  the  year  1865,  the  real  leadership  of  the  Republicans 
in  the  House  of  Representatives  had  belonged  to  Henry  Winter  Davis,  of 
Maryland.  Davis  was  an  orator,  above  ieproach,  and  really  a  great  man.  After 
his  death  his  position  as  spokesman  of  his  party  in  the  House  must  go  to 
I  somebody,  and  the  question  was  whom  ? 



James  A.  Garfield,  of  Ohio,  was  not  unwilling  to  have  the  capacious 
mantle  of  the  Marylander.  Blaine,  of  Maine,  would  wear  that  garment  if  he 
might  possess  it.  Roscoe  Conkling  believed  himself  the  inheritor  of  the  place 
made  vacant  by  the  death  of  Davis.  Garfield  and  Blaine  had  come  into  the 
House  together.  Conkling  had  already  served  two  terms  before  either  of  the 
others  had  arisen.  He  had,  however,  been  beaten  for  re-election  in  1S62,  at 
the  very  time  when  Garfield  and  Blaine  had  been  successful.  Conkling  had 
returned  for  a  third  term  in  1865.  That  magnificent  personage  was  in  the 
heyday  of  his  power  and  ambition.  As  a  matter  of  fact  he  was,  at  that 
juncture,  the  strongest  of  the  three.  He  had  more  pose  and  solidity.  In 
attainments,  though  he  had  not  had  the  advantages  enjoyed  by  both  the 
others,  he  was  their  equal.  In  the  power  of  managing  his  intellectual  resources 
and  of  making  deliberate  battle,  he  was  their  equal  or  more  than  their 
equal,  though  his  onset  was  not  as  spirited  as  that  of  Blaine.  In  great 
ambitions  he  had  as  much  as  either. 

We  are  here  to  note  one  of  the  most  remark- 
able antagonisms  in  the  political  history  of  the 
United  States.  It  was  destined  to  be  life-long.  With 
one  of  the  contestants  it  lasted  for  twenty-one  years ; 
with  the  other  it  lasted  for  the  same  period,  and 
then  lasted  six  years  longer ;  it  was  ineradicable.  It 
cost  both  of  the  parties  dearly.  It  is  not  improbable 
that  it  prevented  one  of  them  and  possibly  both  of 
them  from  sitting  in  the  presidency  of  the  United 
States.  It  was  not  wise ;  it  was  not  expedient ;  it 
was  a  thing  necessary  only  in  consideration  of  the 
temper  and  spirit  of  the  two  men.  Neither  of  them 
could  brook  the  ascendancy  of  the  other.  Each 
fallaciously  believed  that  the  ascendancy  of  the  other 
would  be  fatal  to  his  own  ambitions.  Neither  was 
disposed  by  nature  or  habit  to  that  compromise  and 
conciliation  which,  while  it  may  be  very  disagreeable 
to  those  engaging  thereto,  is  nevertheless,  expedient  in  the  last  degree. 

Only  an  occasion  was  wanting  for  a  break  and  battle  between  Roscoe 
Conkling  and  James  G.  Blaine.  Garfield  was  more  politic  than  either  ;  though 
on  the  whole  he  was  not  as  strong  a  man  as  either.  But  he  could  repress  him- 
self and  abide  his  time.  He  was  more  alert  for  the  enemy,  and  less  likely  to 
have  an  altercation  in  the  household  of  his  friends. 

It  was  in  April  of  1866  that  the  personal  relations  of  Blaine  and 
Conkling  were  broken  forever.  The  affair  occurred  in  the  House  of  Representa- 
tives. A  debate  was  on,  relative  to  some  comparatively  insignificant  matter 
connected  with  the  office  of  Provost-Marshal  General  Fry.  Conkling  had  been 
indulging  in  some  strictures,  which  crossed  the  views  of  Blaine  and  which  drew 


LIFE   AND   WORK   OF  JAMES   G.    BLAINE.  109 

from  him  a  reply  as  sharp  in  substance  as  it  was  excited  in  manner.  When 
the  Congressional  Record  of  the  next  day  appeared,  their  report  of  the  debate 
seemed  to  leave  Blaine  at  a  disadvantage.  He  thereupon  renewed  the  attack  in 
the  House,  and  rather  exceeded  the  bounds  of  prudence  by  saying  something 
about  the  motives  of  Colliding  in  the  matter  of  General   Fry. 

Conkling  came  back  at  his  antagonist,  and  ended  by  charging  him  with 
"frivolous  impertinence.'" 

After  not  many  days,  the  battle  was  renewed  by  Blaine,  who,  instead  of 
speaking  of  his  antagonist  as  the  gentleman  from  New  York,  called  him  "  the 
member  from  the  Utica  district."  This  seemed  to  minify  the  magnificent 
Conkling.  He  replied  in  that  sarcastic,  cool,  and  effective  manner,  for  which 
he  was  pre-eminent  and  again  put  his  brilliant  antagonist  at  a  disadvantage. 
But  meanwhile,  Blaine,  who  was  the  superior  parliamentarian,  managed  the 
matter  so  that  under  the  rules  he  should  have  the  last  shot.  He  availed  him- 
self of  that  privilege  in  a  way  so  memorable  that  the  incident  has  become  a 
part  of  political  history.  In  his  final  reply  up  to  a  certain  point,  he  seemed 
to  be  hardly  a  match  for  the  tremendous  and  sarcastic  Conkling.  But  his  spirit 
gained  in  heat  and  vivacity — we  might  almost  say  in  audacious  recklessness — 
what  he  lacked  in  the  cool  thrust  and  argumentative  sarcasm  of  his  rival. 
Perhaps  the  story  of  what  ensued  may  be  best  delivered  by  quoting  the  remain- 
der of  the  incident  from  "The  Three  Decades"  of  Samuel  S.  Cox.  That 
author,  who  was  a  witness  of  the  scene,  says  :  — 

"  This  debate  showed  Mr.  Conkling  in  his  best  light  of  repartee,  so  far  as 
the  House  was  concerned.  Several  gentlemen  interposed  to  stop,  if  they  could, 
the  blows  that  were  given  and  taken,  but  Mr.  Blaine,  who  was  still  in  the 
dialectics  and  rules  of  the  House,  got  the  last  word ;  and  after  repaying  what  he 
called  '  the  cruel  sarcasm  '  in  which  Mr.  Conkling  was  an  expert,  he  hoped  that 
he  would  not  be  too  severe  in  that  mode  of  handling  his  innocent  self.  '  The 
contempt  of  that  large-minded  gentleman  is  so  wilting ;  his  haughty  disdain ; 
his  grandiloquent  swell ;  his  majestic,  super-eminent,  over-powering,  turkey-gobbler 
strut  has  been  so  crushing  to  myself  and  all  members  of  this  House,  that  I 
know  it  was  an  act  of  the  greatest  temerity  for  me  to  venture  upon  a  contro- 
versy with  him.' 

"  Then  Mr.  Blaine  referred  to  the  man  whom  I  suppose  to  be  the  most 
eloquent  orator  I  have  met  in  Congress — Henry  Winter  Davis.  He  referred  to 
the  'little  jocose  satire  of  Theodore  Tilton — that  the  mantle  of  Davis  had  fallen 
upon  the  gentleman  from  New  York,'  and  that  that  gentleman  had  taken  it 
seriously,  and  it  had  given  '  an  additional  strut  to  his  pomposity.'  '  It  is 
striking,'  said  Mr.  Blaine,  '  Hyperion  to  a  satyr,  Thersites  to  Hercules,  mud 
to  marble,  dunghill  to  diamond,  a  singed  cat  to  a  Bengal  tiger,  a  whining 
puppy  to  a  roaring  lion.'  These  phrases  have  never  been  repeated  " — continues 
Mr.  Cox — "  in  the  House  with  so  much  vindictive  animosity.  But  the  Demo- 
crats enjoyed  it.     It  was  not  their  fight." 

110  LIFE   AND   WORK   OF  JAMES   G.    BLAINE. 

Roscoe  Coukling  had  much  of  the  Indian  in  his  moral  nature :  he  never 
forgot  a  kindness  or  forgave  an  insult.  It  was  not  in  the  nature  of  either  of 
the  men  ever  to  make  apologies  or  overtures.  Both  in  this  particular  had  the 
pride  of  Lucifer.  That  Blaine  should  apologize  in  such  a  case  or  conciliate  was 
the  height  of  improbability ;  that  Conkling  should  apologize  was  unthinkable. 
So  the  feud  became  deadly  and  everlasting.  Henceforth  the  two  statesmen 
walked  each  his  independent  way  towards  the  leadership  of  his  party.  Both 
gained  the  leadership,  but  not  that  complete  and  indisputable  leadership  which 
was  prerequisite  to  the  presidency  of  the  United  States.  The  more  prudent 
Garfield  held  off — and    gained  the  \\  Trite  House. 

We  may  here  note  with  propriety  and  interest  the  measures  in  the  advo- 
cacy of  which  Blaine  rose  to  a  first  rank  in  his  party.  He  took  the  position  for 
one  thing,  that  the  loyal  States,  by  whose  fidelity  the  war  for  the  Union  had  been 
brought  to  a  successful  close,  should  be  reimbursed  for  their  expenditure.  This 
was  the  Hamiltouian  project  of  the  Revolutionary  sequel  revived  and  applied  to 
the  greater  emergency  of  1865.  Measures  of  this  sort  were  introduced  into  the 
House  as  early  as  April  of  1S64,  and  Blaine  spoke  powerfully  in  advocacy  of 
his  bill  to  reimburse  the  State  of  Pennsylvania  for  her  extraordinary  outlays 
in  the  war.  Another  subject  was  that  presented  in  a  measure  for  taxing  exports 
of  the  country.  Blaine  took  the  ground  boldly  that  that  clause  of  the  National 
Constitution,  prohibiting  the  taxation  of  exports,  should  be  abrogated.  On  this 
subject  he  delivered,  on  the  second  of  March,  1865,  a  strong  and  withal  popular 
speech.  Already  the  question  of  the  currency  and  the  dollar  of  the  currency  was 
uppermost  in  the  public  mind,  and  on  this  Blaine  spoke  of  them  and  with 
great  satisfaction  to  his  constituency  and  a  majority  of  the  people. 

This  money  issue  was  one  of  the  most  difficult  which  the  statesman  had  to 
meet.  In  handling  it  he  was  always  in  a  straight  place  between  two  extremes. 
It  is  the  hardship  of  war  that  it  brings  debt  upon  the  country  which  engages 
in  it.  In  our  own  case  we  piled  up  a  debt  mountain-wise.  The  prodigious  pile 
reached  the  clouds.  In  any  old  nation  there  would  have  remained  no  hope  at 
all  of  paying  it.  It  would  simply  have  been  laid  upon  posterity  as  an  ever- 
lasting tax.  The  principal  question,  however,  with  Congress  and  with  the  people 
of  the  United  States,  was  how  they  should  measure  and  manage  this  debt.  Gold 
and  silver  had  disappeared.  Paper  money  prevailed  and  abounded.  The  premium 
on  coin  arose  to  almost  two-hundred  per  cent.  The  dollar  of  the  law  and  the 
contract  became  a  paper  dollar  which,  as  measured  by  the  standard  of  gold,  was, 
for  a  considerable  period,  worth  less  than  fifty  cents. 

But  what  was  the  equity  of  this  situation  ?  One  class  of  statesmen,  backed 
up  and  instigated  by  the  creditor  classes,  held  that  the  dollar  was  always  the 
gold  and  silver  dollar.  Practically  this  was  not  so.  Theoretically  and  even 
constitutionally  it  was  probably  so.  For  many  years  together,  the  dollar  of  the 
law  and  the  contract  was,  to  all  intents  and  purposes,  a  dollar  of  paper.  During 
the  same  period  the  modicum  of  gold    and    silver   remaining   in    the  country — 


though  it  was  stamped  and  branded  with  the  names  of  coins — was  really  mer- 
chandise. At  length  the  bottom  was  reached — or  the  top,  as  the  case  may  be — 
and  the  readjustment  became  necessary. 

Then  came  on  the  warfare  between  the  advocates  of  the  so-called  "  honest 
dollar  "  and  the  paper  dollar  with  which,  and  on  the  basis  of  which,  the  business 
of  the  country  had  been  so  long  transacted.  The  advocates  of  high  payment 
took  the  "  honest  dollar  "  as  their  catch-word  and,  to  make  a  long  narrative 
brief,  they  won  with  it,  and  by  a  series  of  legislative  enactments,  entailing  the 
greatest  hardships  on  the  producing  interests  of  the  country,  succeeded  in 
twisting  up,  turn  by  turn,  the  standard  unit  in  the  financial  mill,  until  the  so- 
called  resumption  of  specie  payment  was  finally,  after  fourteen  years  from 
Appomatox,  effected. 

Thus  the  value  of  the  national  debt  was  augmented  from  year  to  year  as 
rapidly  as  it  was  paid  away.  As  fast  as  payment  was  made,  the  value  of  the 
dollar  in  which  it  was  expressed,  was  increased.  To  the  debtor  class,  all  this 
was  the  labor  of  Sysiphus.  The  toiler  laboriously  rolled  the  stone  to  the  top 
of  the  hill;  but  ever,  when  near  the  crest,  it  got  away  with  him  and  returned 
with  thunderiug  and  the  roar  of  bankruptcy  to  the  bottom.  To  the  present  day 
the  process  has  been  kept  up  and,  notwithstanding  the  multiplied  billions  upon 
billions  which  the  American  people  have  paid  in  principal  and  interest  upon 
that  patriotic  war-debt,  which  expressed  their  devotion  and  sacrifice,  it  is  the 
truth  of  history,  that  the  debt  itself  is,  at  the  present  time,  worth  virtually  as 
much  to  the  holders  as  it  was  when  it  reached  its  nominal  maximum  iu  August 
of  1865. 

In  the  contention  about  the  dollar,  the  interests  and  desires  of  the  creditor 
classes  were  always  in  favor  of  the  coin  dollar,  as  they  have  now  become  in 
favor  of  the  gold  dollar  only.  The  credit  of  the  country  was  represented  mostly 
in  the  great  commercial  centres  and  in  the  East.  The  debt  of  the  country  was 
represented  mostly  in  the  illimitable  champaigns  of  the  centre  and  the  West — in 
the  farms  and  homes  of  the  great  majority  of  the  American  people.  Iu  these 
contentions,  Blaine,  as  a  political  economist,  as  a  financier,  as  an  Eastern  man, 
stood  strongly  for  the  resubstitutiou  of  the  coin  dollar  for  the  paper  dollar.  He 
advocated  the  "honest  dollar"  as  against  the  dollar  of  the  debt.  He  spoke  on 
this  subject  with  great  cogency.  In  another  part  of  this  work  we  present  one 
of  his  principal  speeches  on  this  theme,  in  which  he  elaborates  his  views  on 
the  standard  of  money  and  account. 

We  remark  also  that,  as  far  back  as  the  close  of  the  war,  and  in  the  years 
immediately  following,  Blaine's  attention  was  turned  to  the  commercial  relations 
of  the  country.  He  noted,  with  extreme  regret,  the  falling  away  of  the  foreign 
commerce  of  the  United  States.  He  saw  the  merchant-marine  dwindle,  and  the 
ships  of  other  nations  crowding  into  our  harbors.  It  was  at  this  time  that  those 
ineradicable  impressions  were  made  on  his  mind  relative  to  the  foreign  commerce 
of  our  country,  which  proved  to   be    determinative    of  many    of    his    subsequent 

112  LIFE   AND   WORK   OF  JAMES   G.    BLAINE. 

policies.  He  sought  as  early  as  1866  to  restore  the  commerce  of  the  United 
States,  and  advocated,  in  the  House  of  Representatives,  a  proposition  to  purchase 
ships  abroad,   with  a  view  to  regaining  what  we  had  lost. 

The  brilliant  Blaine  had  now  become  an  acknowledged  leader.  We  speak 
of  the  time  when  he  concluded  his  second  term  of  service  in  Congress.  Garfield 
was  also  rising.  The  latter  aspired  to  become  the  financial  leader  of  the  House, 
as  Thaddeus  Stevens  had  been  before  him.  Blaine  looked  to  general  leadership — 
and  gained  it.  Conkling  looked  to  leadership  by  conquest,  by  organization  and 
victorious  assumptions.  Blaine  sought  to  improve  himself  and  to  enlarge  his 
views.  In  these  particulars  few  men  have  been  more  persistent  and  systematic. 
Blaine  was  a  great  observer  and  student.  He  was  omnivorous.  His  reading, 
and  note-taking,  and  digestion,  and  deduction,  and  formulation  of  propositions 
and  arguments,  went  on  constantly,  in  season  and  out  of  season,  until  he 
became,  far  inside  of  his  fortieth  year,  one  of  the  best-posted  politicians  and 
statesmen  in  the  Republic. 

In  pursuance  of  his  habit,  he  now  sought  a  turn  of  travel  abroad.  In  the 
fall  of  1 866,  he  was  re-elected  to  Congress,  almost  without  opposition.  It  is  one 
of  the  remarkable  things  in  the  career  of  Blaine  that  there  has  always  been  a 
slumbering  applause  along  the  Democratic  lines,  ready  to  burst  out  for  him  on 
the  slightest  provocation.  Notwithstanding  the  fact  that  he  was  politically  a 
man  of  assault  and  battle,  the  enemy  admired  him  and  at  times  came  near 
loving  him.  The  home  papers  of  the  opposition  in  his  district  were  almost 
read}-  to  support  him.  On  the  occasion  of  his  third  nomination,  the  Rockland 
Democrat  did  the  unusual  thing  by  publishing  an  editorial  which  any  leader 
of  an  opposition  party  might  have  been  proud  to  extort  from  his  opponent. 
On  the  occasiou  referred  to,  the  Democrat  spoke  as  follows : — 

"  At  the  convention  of  the  Third  Congressional  District,  in  Augusta,  on 
Friday  last,  Hon.  James  G-  Blaine  was  renominated  as  the  Union  candidate 
for  Congress  by  acclamation.  This  is  an  endorsement  of  Mr.  Blaine's  ability 
and  course  in  Congress  of  the  most  flattering  character.  His  constituents  are 
second  to  none  in  the  State  for  intelligence  and  general  political  information, 
and  understand  thoroughly  the  candidate  they  have  placed  before  the  people  a 
third  time.  In  March  next  Mr.  Blaine  will  have  held  his  seat  in  the  House 
two  terms,  and  in  September  will  be  elected  to  take  his  third  term.  While  he 
has  been  untiring  in  his  efforts  to  promote  the  interests  of  our  State,  Mr. 
Blaine  has  not  confined  himself  to  local  affairs,  but  has  exerted  himself  in  the 
broader  field  of  statesmanship,  and  gained  a  national  reputation.  The  amend- 
ment to  the  Constitution  now  adopted  by  Congress,  which  proposes  to  correct 
the  basis  of  representation  in  the  South,  was  originated  by  Mr.  Blaine.  It 
has  been  somewhat  changed  from  its  original  form,  but  its  purport  and 
substance  were  taken  from  him,  and  it  is  now  one  of  the  most  important  steps 
in  the  process  of  reconstruction.  It  is  not  necessary  to  recall  and  review  the 
many  measures   with    which    his    name   is  prominently    connected,  for  they   are 


generally  known,  and  his  renomination  is  an  endorsement  of  his  acts  far 
bey^ond  anything  we  might  say.  As  a  ready,  forcible  debater,  a  clear  reasoner, 
sound  legislator,  fearless  advocate,  and  true  supporter  of  the  principles  and 
organization  of  the  party  of  Union  and  Right,  he  has  made  a  mark  in  the 
annals  of  Congress  of  which  he  and  those  who  elected  him  may  be  proud. 
The  Union  voters  of  the  Third  District  have  manifested  good  sense  in 
renominating  so  competent  a  candidate  to  represent  them.  In  these  critical 
times  the  policy  of  changing  experienced,  tried  and  true  men  for  new 
and  inexperienced  ones  is  to  be  avoided  as  much  as  possible.  In  favorable 
times  that  policy  will  do,  but  this  is  not  the  season.  The  Union  men  of 
the  Third  District  will  not  fail  to  give  Mr.  Blaine  a  good  support  at  the 

Returning  from  his  foreign  excursion,  during  which  he  was  an  observant 
student  for  several  months,  in  1867,  in  England  and  on  the  continent,  Blaine 
resumed  his  place  in  the  House  of  Representatives  as  a  member  of  the  Fortieth 
Congress.  He  was  now  clearly  in  the  ascendant.  He  had  reached  the 
beginning  of  his  prodigious  popularity.  Not  only  in  the  Government,  but  in 
Washington  City,  and  socially  and  politically  throughout  the  country,  his 
influence  became  immense.  The  enthusiasm  for  him  at  the  Capital  rose  with 
each  stage  of  his  progress.  Visitors  in  that  city  always  wanted  "  to  see 
Blaine  "  and,  if  possible,  to  hear  him.  He  had  become  one  of  the  oracles  of 
his  party.  He  was  careful  not  to  make  mistakes.  He  prepared  himself  assid- 
uously. His  rash  caution  or  cautious  rashness  was  precisely  of  a  kind  to 
dazzle  and  to  win  applause.  We  ruay  frankly  admit  that  applause  was  grate- 
ful to  his  ears.  During  the  sessions  of  the  Fortieth  Congress  he  was  always 
at  the  fore.  He  was  busy  to  an  almost  immeasurable  degree.  He  perceived 
his  ascendancy  in  his  party  and  looked  to  greater  things.  His  committee  work 
in  this  Congress  touched  upon  measures  for  the  reorganization  of  the  ami}' 
and  navy  of  the  United  States  ;  for  the  improvement  of  the  post-office  system ; 
for  the  promotion  of  the  interest  of  the  Congressional  Library ;  for  the  crea- 
tion of  Indian  reservations ;  for  the  establishment  of  a  carrier  system 
between  the  States.  Other  incidental  questions  were  those  relating  to  the 
management  of  the  Treasury ;  to  the  cotton  tax  ;  to  the  successive  issues  of 
national  bonds ;  to  the  earliest  funding  bills ;  to  a  treaty  with  Mexico ;  to 
foreign  commerce ;  to  the  election  laws  ;  to  river  and  harbor  improvements ;  to 
the  rules  of  the  House ;  to  the  investigation  of  the  custom  house ;  to  local 
matters,  and  to  a  thousand  concerns  of  individuals  and  persons.  He  worked 
with  an  earnestness  and  enthusiasm  which  was  equaled  by  perhaps  only  one 
man  in  the  House  of  Representatives,  his  future  successful  competitor  for  the 
presidency,  James  A.  Garfield. 

We  do  not  here  stop  to  recount  the  speeches  and  measures  of  Blaine,  pro- 
moted or  contemplated,  during  the  sessions  of   the    Fortieth    Congress.     Blaine 

went    through    that    Congress    with  complete    success    and    triumph.     He  came 



out  of  it  with  immense  popularity.  He  was  re-elected  for  the  fourth  time  in 
the  fall  of  1868,  aud  on  the  fourth  of  the  following  March  was  nominated  by 
the  Republican  caucus  for  the  speakership  of  the  House  of  Representatives. 
He  went  into  this  high  seat  coincidently  with  General  Grant's  victorious 
entrance  into  the  White  House.  He  received  for  the  speakership  a  vote  of 
135  against  the  57  which  were  cast  by  the  Democrats  for  their  favorite  and 
nominee,  Michael  C.  Kerr,  of  Indiana — destined  after  six  years  to  turn  the 
tables  on  Blaine  himself  and  gain  the  speakership. 

We  have  thus  hurriedly  traced  the  congressional  career  of  James  G. 
Blaine  through  its  first  passage  in  the  House  of  Representatives.  This  covered 
a  period  of  six  years,  extending  from  December  of  1863  to  March  of  1869.  At 
the  latter  date  he  was  promoted,  as  we  have  just  said,  to  that  position  which 
is  regarded  as  the  second  in  importance  to  the  presidency  of  the  United 

We  need  only  remark  upon  the  rapidity  of  this  rise  to  distinction.  Blaine 
was  one  of  the  youngest  men  who  have  attained  the  speakership  of  the  House. 
At  the  time  of  his  election  he  was  but  thirty-nine  years  of  age.  He  had  tlms, 
while  virtually  in  his  youth,  gaitied  a  proud  pre-eminence.  His  career,  though 
mingled  with  some  obscuration,  hardship  and  trial,  had  been  steadily  upward. 
The  asceut  had  been  steep  and  rapid.  He  had  sprung  up  the  heights  with  an 
agility  and  vigor  which  have  rarely  been  witnessed  in  the  case  of  a  political 
aspirant.  Military  heroism  sometimes  foreruns  the  age  at  which  Blaine  had 
now  arrived.  In  a  few  instances,  as  in  the  case  of  the  younger  Pitt,  states- 
manship and  power  have  come  at  an  age  earlier  even  than  that  at  which  Blaine 
rose  to  indisputable  leadership.  But,  on  the  whole,  the  rise  of  the  latter  is  a 
conspicuous  example  of  what  industry  and  intellect  and  ambition  are  able  to 
effect  in  a  country  such  as  ours. 



HREE    men    have    each    been    three    times    elected    to    the 
speakership    of    the    House    of    Representatives.       Henry 
Clay  was  so  honored  in   1811,   1S13   and    1815.      Schuyler 
Colfax  was    in    like   manner    distinguished    in    1863,   1865 
and   1S67.      James   G.   Blaine    received    the  same  honor    at 
the   hands    of  his    party    in    1S69,    1871    and    1873.      The 
fact    of   a   re-election    to    such   a    position    by  such   a  body 
as    the    House    of    Representatives     is    the     strongest     possible 
testimony  ;  not,  indeed,  to  the  efficiency  of  party  machinery,  but 
to    the     unmistakable    abilities     and     fitness    of    the    person    so 
honored.     The  House  of  Representatives    never    desires  to    have 
an    inefficient    Speaker.     Whatever    ma}*    be    the   vicissitudes   of 
politics    in    that    body,   the  wish    is    always    prevalent    that    the 
presiding     officer     may    be     capable     and    popular    as    well     as 
impartial  and  just.     The  business  of  the  House  as    well  as    the 
reputation    of   the    country    requires    such    a    standard    of  excel- 
lence in  the  speakership. 

It  might  be  of  interest  to  make  an  historical  and  personal 
comparison  of  the  three  distinguished  iVmericans  who  have 
each  been  twice  re-elected  to  the  Speaker's  chair  of  the  House 
of  Representatives.  In  a  contest  on  the  line  of  great  abilities, 
we  should  have  to  limit  the  comparison  to  Clay  and  Blaine.  Mr.  Colfax  was 
a  man  of  more  moderate  and  modest  proportions ;  but  he  was  an  evenly 
balanced  man  of  astute  faculties,  clear  vision  and  the  finest  temper.  It  should 
be  said  that  in  Clay's  time  the  House  of  Representatives  was  by  no  means 
the  body  which  it  has  since  become.  It  was  not  wanting  in  great  abilities 
and  great  contentions.  But  it  was  not  like  the  House,  as  it  now  springs  from 
the  vast  domains  of  the  Republic  and  from  the  suffrages  of  thirteen  millions 
of  voters.  We  have  already  commented  upon  the  personal  ascendancy  which 
was  gainable  by  men  in  the  earlier  years  of  the  Republic.  As  late  as  1840, 
political  leaders  were  not  dependent  upon  the  caucus,  the  convention  and  the 
central  committee,  as  the}'  have  since  become. 

These  facts  give  an  easy  advantage  to  Clay  in  the  matter  of  a  comparison 
with  Blaine.  That  Clay  was  a  great  speaker  cannot  be  doubted.  His 
magnificent,  ugly   presence    was    an    inspiration    and    a   commanding    force.     He 




was,  perhaps,  not  the  most  astute  of  parliamentarians;  but  the  sense  of  equity 
was  strong  in  him  and  his  mind  was  keenly  alert.  His  personal  bearing  in 
the  Speaker's  chair  was  not  inferior  to  that  of  any  presiding  officer  which  the 
American  Congress  has  furnished.  As  a  Speaker  his  temper  was  more  subject 
to  ruffle  and  flustration  than  that  of  either  Colfax  or  Blaine.  Both  of  the 
latter  had  extraordinary  command  of  themselves.  Neither  ever  forgot  himself 
nor  abdicated  the  place  of  reason.  Each  held  on  through  stormy  periods  of  six 
years'  service  with  a  demeanor  as  steady  and  unmoved  as  it  was  urbane  and 

In  acquired  abilities,  Blaine  was  by  much  the  greatest  of  the  three.  The 
range  of  his  information  was  wider ;  his  comprehension  of  facts,  both  national 
and  international,  more  profound  and  accurate.  His  parliamentary  knowledge 
was  as  refined  and  exact  as  it  was  complete.  His  accomplishments  as  a 
parliamentarian  were    as    varied    and    perhaps    more    exhaustive    than    those    of 

Colfax ;    but  in  personal  suavity  and  unruffled  dis- 
position, the   latter    was    the  equal  of  any. 

It  has  pleased  the  American  people  to  institute 
many  comparisons  between  James  G.  Blaine  and 
Henry  Clay.  They  have  chosen  to  regard  the 
former  as  the  modern  representative  of  the  great 
Kentuckian.  Such  similitudes,  if  they  exist,  are 
pleasing  to  the  public  mind.  It  were  a  difficult 
question  to  know  precisely  how  it  is  and  why  it 
is  that  men  are  so  much  regarded  as  the  reproduc- 
tions of  one  another.  There  is  no  essential  reason 
why  a  man  should  not  be  considered  in  his  indi- 
vidual    personality  apart     from     all    anti-types     and 

JAMES  G.  BLAINE  IN  THE   SPEAKERSHIP.  1         11      ,  1  -n  1 

protot3'pes  and  all  types  whatsoever.  But  there  is 
a  weakness  in  the  mind  for  considering  every  man  by  the  standards,  accomplish- 
ments and  character  of  some  other  between  whom  and  himself  contrasts  and 
likenesses  are  discovered. 

Blaine  and  Clay  have  thus  been  set  together  in  public  estimation ;  and 
we  may  confess  that  there  are  grounds  for  juxtaposition.  The  points  of 
likeness  are  in  several  particulars  striking  and  unmistakable.  The  ambitions  of 
the  two  men  were  alike,  and  to  pass  over  much  their  political  destinies  were 
alike.  Each  was  fated  to  be  tantalized  with  the  presidency ;  to  have  it  near 
and  yet  to  touch  it  not.  The  inspiring  sentiments  of  the  two  statesmen  were 
also  identical  in  several  particulars.  Each  had  personal  warmth  ;  each  had 
enthusiasm ;  each  had  great  abilities  of  nature  and  large  acquirements  of 
experience.  The  attainments  of  Blaine  were  vastly  greater  than  those  of  Clay. 
He  knew  more  than  the  Kentucky  statesman  could  know,  in  consideration  of 
the  circumstances  in  which  he  was  born  and  reared.  As  to  natural  abilities, 
we  should  not  rashly    decide    between    them.     As    to    the    powers    of  leadership, 

LIFE   AND   WORK   OF  JAMES   G.    BLAINE.  117 

so  far  as  the  saying  were  deduced  from  personal  qualities  and  characteristics, 
we  think  the  palm  belongs  to  Clay.  His  party  never  broke  behind  him.  It 
may  have  been  his  good  fortune  not  to  have  such  intense  rivalry  in  the  rear 
and  on  the  right  and  left ;  but  it  was  his  good  sense  not  to  provoke  it. 

In  actual,  personal  magnetism  it  were  again  difficult  to  decide  between  the 
two  men.  The  power  of  each  in  this  particular  was  immense.  We  may  not 
presume  to  decide  what  that  particular  thing  is  which  constitutes  personal 
magnetism.  It  has  in  it  first  of  all  an  element  of  openness,  frankness.  The 
person  who  possesses  it  seems  to  stand  open  to  approach  and  to  invite  it.  He 
has  not  many  closed  doors.  The  small  and  the  great  find  an  avenue  to  him, 
and  in  doing  so  come  to  have  a  personal  interest  in  him.  In  the  next  place, 
there  is  such  a  thing  as  spiritual  temperature.  The  body  thermometer  decides 
that  the  material  temperature  of  all  human  beings  is  the  same.  The  obese 
man  and  the  living  skeleton ;  the  old  man  and  the  young  man  ;  the  crowing 
baby  and  the  bedridden  invalid  all  have  the  same  bodily  heat  and  maintain  it 
from  the  beginning  to  the  end  of  life. 

But  in  the  world  of  spirits  it  seems  not  to  be  so.  We  apply  the  term  more 
to  the  mind  and  the  emotion  by  a  metonomy  in  our  attempt  to  convey  an  idea 
bv  material  imager}-.  Certain  it  is  that  minds  differ  from  one  another  very 
greatly  in  a  quality  which  seems  like  warmth.  Some  are  warm  and  some  are  cold. 
Some  are  lukewarm.  It  was  souls  of  the  latter  kind  that  the  angel  of  the 
Apocalypse  threatened  to  spew  out  of  his  mouth  !  There  have  been  leaders  who 
were  so  by  being  cold.  We  are  not  to  admit  that  there  is  no  power  in  an 
iceberg.  But  most  leaders  of  men  have  been  so  by  their  spiritual  temperature. 
In  this  list  fall  both  Clay  and  Blaine.  Their  inner  heat  was  high — unusually 
high.  Whoever  came  within  range  of  either  felt  the  glow.  In  proportion  as  it 
is  better,  more  pleasing  to  be  warm  than  to  be  chilled  to  that  degree,  do  men  return 
and  return  again  into  the  presence  that  warms  them.  Few  of  us  are  in  such 
a  condition  of  body  or  soul  as  to  desire  to  be  chilled  or  even  cooled.  It  appears 
to  us  that  warmth  is  life  and  that  cold  is  death.  Those  leaders,  therefore,  who 
warm  their  followers  seem  to  give  life ;  and  the  masses  draw  to  them  as  to  the 
genial  light  and  heat  of  the  hearthstone  or  the  sun. 

We  need  not  pursue  these  reflections  or  follow  further  the  comparison  which 
the  American  people  have  chosen  to  make  of  Henry  Clay  and  James  G.  Blaine. 
Like  the  former  the  latter  entered  into  the  Speakership  of  the  House  of  Repre- 
sentatives to  hold  it  for  three  consecutive  terms.  Blaine's  term  extended  from 
1868  to  1874  or  more  properly  from  the  accession  of  Grant  to  the  presidency 
to  the  middle  of  the  General's  second  term. 

We  might  remark  upon  the  strong  contrasts  afforded  in  the  character  and 
manner  of  the  President  and  those  of  the  Speaker  of  the  House.  Here,  indeed, 
there  was  nothing  but  the  similitude  of  unlikeness.  It  is  needed,  when  things 
go  smoothly  with  an  administration,  that  there  shall  be  concord  between  the 
Chief  Magistrate  and  the  Speaker  of  the  House.     The  latter  is  the  head  of  the 

118  LIFE   AND   WORK   OF  JAMES  G.    BLAINE. 

legislative  as  the  former  is  the  head  of  the  executive  department  of  the  Gov- 
ernment. It  does  not  follow  that  the  Speaker  is  specially  under  the  influence 
of  the  Chief  Magistrate.  The  latter  has  a  cabinet  which  is  generally  his  own ; 
and  between  him  and  the  Senators  of  his  own  party,  who  were  expected  to 
dispense  the  patronage  in  their  respective  States,  there  are  the  strongest  ties. 
But  the  Speaker  has  a  comparative  independence  and  a  responsibility  and 
autonomy  of  his  own.  It  should  be  said  that  Blaine  and  Grant  got  on  well 
together.  Notwithstanding  the  General's  silence  and  reserve,  he  was  a  good 
party  man,  and  it  was  not  difficult  to  be  in  harmony  with  him,  provided  only 
the  person  desiring  to  be  harmonious  would  be  patient  with  the  silence  and 
non-committal  manner  which  was  the  natural  garb  of  Grant's  character. 

The  relations  to  which  we  here  refer  were  oddly  complicated  by  the  rivalry 
which,  as  the  reader  knows,  had  now  existed  for  three  years  between  Blaine 
and  Roscoe  Conkling.  It  became  at  length  a  part  of  the  policy  of  the  latter 
to  carry  the  day  against  his  competitor  by  insinuating  himself  between  Blaiue 
and  President  Grant.  While  it  does  not  appear  that  he  ever  succeeded  in  wholly 
alienating  the  President  from  the  man  of  Maine,  he  did  succeed  in  gaining  a 
remarkable  ascendency  over  General  Grant  himself  and  a  correspondingly  exag- 
gerated influence  in  the  Government.  More  and  more,  as  time  wore  on,  did 
Conkling  hold  to  this  line.  The  name  and  fame  of  Grant  became  world-wide 
and  Conkling  became  his  spokesman.  We  need  not  here  inquire  how  it  was  or 
why  it  was  that  a  man  so  unlike  Grant  as  was  the  New  York  Senator  could 
make  himself  his  ally,  gain  his  confidence  and  become  a  directive  force  over  his 
actions  and  policy.  It  is  sufficient  to  note  the  fact  that  it  was  so,  and  to  mark 
two  circumstances  which  may  partly  explain  it. 

In  the  first  place  Conkling  was  a  man  of  great  personal  fidelity.  He  bad 
also  that  particular  kind  of  integrity  which  was  one  of  the  fundamental  elements 
of  Grant's  character.  These  two  elements  were  in  common  between  the  two 
men,  and  Conkling  was  able,  planting  himself  upon  them,  to  gain  an  influence 
over  the  General's  mind,  which  was  perhaps  attained  by  no  other  statesman  of 
the  time.  This  influence  began  to  assert  itself  while  Blaine  was  Speaker  of  the 
House  of  Representatives ;  but  it  was  not  used  to  the  hurt  of  the  Speaker  while 
in  office  to  the  extent  that  it  was  used  afterwards  when  he  was  an  aspirant  for 
the  presidency. 

The  Speaker  of  the  House  of  Representatives  is,  as  we  have  said,  a  pre- 
vailing force  in  the  Government  of  the  United  States.  With  him  much  originates. 
He  is  able  to  control  almost  everything.  The  legislative  department  of  the 
Government,  like  all  things  else  well  organized,  has  become  machine-like  and 
methodical  in  its  operation.  The  subordinate  parts  of  the  House  are  its 
committees.  Everything  depends  on  the  committee.  Without  the  committee 
hardly  anything  begins  or  is  able  to  promote  itself  into  the  fashion  of  legislation. 
The  Speaker  makes  his  committees.  He  makes  them  under  party  expediency. 
But,  nevertheless,  he  makes  them.     He  creates  them  as  he  will.     In  particular 


he  names  the  chairmen,  who  become  to  the  respective  committees  what  the 
committees  themselves  are  to  the  House.  Matters  must  originate  in  the  brain 
of  somebody.  That  somebody  is  the  chairman.  The  chairman  becomes  the 
committee ;  the  committee  becomes  the  House,  and  the  House  becomes  the 
country.  The  Speaker  makes  the  chairman — makes  him  with,  care  and  with 
certain  ends  in  view.  The  chairmen  are  his  men  ;  with  them  he  is  in  accord 
and  they  with    him. 

On  his  entrance  into  the  speakership  the  better  and  finer  qualities  of  Blaine 
began  to  be  at  once  manifested.  He  showed  himself  pre-eminently  fitted  for  the 
place.  He  followed  a  Speaker  of  great  popularity  ;  but  there  was  no  waning  of 
influence  and  admiration  in  the  direction  of  the  chair.  It  was  soon  seen  by  the 
House  and  by  the  country  that  the  new  presiding  officer,  contrar}-  to  what  might 
have  been  expected  from  his  well-known  characteristics,  had  the  exact  temper 
requisite  in  a  great  Speaker.  From  the  first  he  was  calm,  judicial,  impartial  to 
a  degree.  His  speech  of  acceptance  was  brief  and  modest.  No  sooner  was  the 
responsibility  of  office  laid  upon  him  than  he  became  or  began  to  become  serene 
and  just.  The  qualities  which  he  revealed  from  the  first  at  the  Speaker's  desk 
gained  for  him  a  universal  esteem  and  the  glowing  applause  of  his  party. 

The  life  of  a  Congressman  is  easy  or  laborious  as  he  makes  it  so. 
Accordingly  as  his  ambitions  are  prevalent  and  his  abilities  great,  his  duties  and 
responsibilities  become  onerous.  If  he  desires  to  glide  along  smoothly  and 
obscurely,  he  has  little  to  do  but  to  vote  or  perhaps  occasionally  to — object. 

The  duties  of  the  Speakership  are  prodigious.  The  Speaker  is  every  man's 
man.  All  committees  go  to  him  ;  all  members  follow  him  ;  visitors  from  every 
part  in  the  city  appeal  to  him;  lobb3'ists  circle  around  him,  read}-  to  alight  if 
they  may ;  heads  of  the  departments  consult  him ;  his  responsibilities  are 
universal  and  his  correspondence  mountainous.  All  this  Blaine  had  now  to 
face.  He  did  it  with  an  energy  equal  to  the  emergencies  of  his  office.  He  was, 
in  season  and  out  of  season.  He  was  alert  to  such  an  extent  that  the  wonder 
is  he  was  not  consumed  in  the  flame  of  his  own  energies.  How,  indeed, 
can  a  man  meet  duties  so  exacting,  so  overwhelming,  so  continuous  and  yet 
survive  ? 

The  answer  is  not  far  to  seek.  He  can  meet  them  with  good  health  and 
ambition.  He  must  have  both.  The  key  to  the  situation  is  good  health,  and 
the  key  to  that  is  temperance.  Blaine  was  always  a  temperate  man.  Several 
vices  flourish  in  Washington  City  and  their  malign  influence  is  felt  in  the 
Capitol.  The  worst  of  these  are  intemperance,  gambling,  and  social  dissipation 
and  unrest.  Were  one  of  these,  or  still  worse,  two  or  three  of  them  fastened 
upon  a  Congressman,  he  is  lost.  Against  them  Blaine  was  proof.  For  nearly 
thirty  years  he  endured  the  temptations  and  besetments  of  the  capital  and  the 
Capitol  with  immunity.  While  not  a  total  abstainer  in  the  matter  of  drink,  he 
was,  nevertheless,  a  temperate  man.  He  was  also  abstemious  in  food  and  in 
society.      He  husbanded  his  resources;  he  took  care  of  himself.     He  was  always 



as  clean  as  a  prince,    neat,    decorous,  well-kept   and  well-dressed,  upright,  brisk 
in  exercise,  active  and  full  of  nerve. 

It  was  in  this  temper  and  manner  that  he  went  about  the  great  duties  of 
the  Speakership.  He  bore  them  for  six  years  with  unfaltering  fidelity.  The 
great  questions  were  now  on,  and  to  these  he  gave  constant  concern.  Johnson 
was  out  of  the  presidency  and  Grant  was  in.  In  the  South  it  was  the  heyday 
of  anarchy.  There  had  been  plans  of  reconstruction  and  other  plans  and  still 
other.  Finally  it  had  resolved  itself  into  military  districts,  and  against  these 
and  their  sway  the  malcontent  element  of  the  old  slave  States  had  gone  into 
the  rage  of  Ku-kluxism.  It  was  a  transitional  state  which  must  pass  away. 
It  was  neither  the  one  thing  nor  the  other.  It  was  neither  reason  nor  force. 
Both  reason   and    force  were  mounted  on    the  steed  of   authority ;   but  one  rode 

with  his  face  afore  and  the  other  looking 
backwards.  The  business  of  the  House 
of  Representatives  turned  constantly  to 
this  state  of  affairs,  and  the  Republican 
party,  dominant  in  the  Government, 
must  tide  over  the  nation  from  the 
estate  of  war  through  semi-war  to  the 
estate  of  peace. 

Within  a  week  after  the  acces- 
sion of  Grant  to  the  presidency,  the 
act  entitled  "  An  Act  to  Strengthen 
the  Public  Credit,"  etc.,  was  passed  by 
the  House  of  Representatives.  It  was 
the  first  and  possibly  the  most  impor- 
tant of  those  financial  measures,  by 
|jp  which  ultimately  the  payment  of  coin 
was  substituted  for  the  payment  in 
paper  of  the  debts,  public  and  private, 
of  the  people  of  the  United  States. 

We  have  already  said  that  Blaine 
upheld  and  promoted  the  measures  winch  have  now  become  a  part  of  the  finan- 
cial history  of  the  country.  He  advocated  all  of  the  leading  plans  which  looked 
to  the  resumption  of  specie  payments  and  the  obliteration  of  the  redundant  paper 
currency.  In  so  doing  he,  like  Garfield,  made  himself  secure  with  the  fund- 
holding  classes  of  the  country.  As  yet  the  debtor  classes  had  not  come  to 
understand  that  every  turn  of  the  crank,  by  which  the  purchasing  power  of  the 
dollar  was  forced  tip  the  scale,  had  for  them  the  significance  of  double  pay- 
ment. The  Grant  administration  was  very  firmly  planted  on  the  principle 
of  the  restoration  of  the  credit  of  the  United  States.  To  this  end  everything 
was  made  to  bend  and  conform.  Blaine,  at  the  head  of  the  House,  stood  squarely 
bv  the  dominant  policy,  and  with  Garfield  for  his  Chairman  of  the    Committee 




of     Ways     and     Means,  pressed    forward    each    measure   by  which  the  financial 
system  of  the  country  was  ultimately  set  again  on  the  basis  of  a  coin  dollar. 

The  political  party  through  whose  agency  the  war  for  the  suppression  of 
the  rebellion  had  been  brought  to  a  successful  close  inherited  from  that  conflict 
a  thousand  difficulties.  Among  the  rest  the  Republican  party  inherited  the 
negro.  The  exact  nature  of  the  inheritance  had  not  been  foreseen.  Philanthropy 
had  caught  at  the  negro  as  a  man  in  bondage  ;  and  so  he  was.  It  had 
been  believed,  or  at  least  accepted  as  a  certain  result,  that  with  the  breaking 
of  bondage  the  man  would  appear.  He  would  be  a  man  in  black,  but  a  man 
nevertheless — and  a  brother.  The  event  did  not  meet  the  expectation.  The 
negro  came,  and  to  the  astonishment  of 
philanthropy,  was  as  ignorant  on  the  day 
after  his  emancipation  as  he  had  been 
the  day  before.  He  came  by  the  million. 
A  prodigious  cloud  of  black  lay  banked 
along  the  whole  Southern  horizon.  Phil- 
anthropy would  at  once  resolve  it ;  would 
make  it  into  citizenship ;  would  transform 
it  as  with  the  stroke  of  a  wand. 

The  transformation  did  not  ensue. 
The  question  of  giving  suffrage  to  the 
blacks  as  a  remedy  for  their  situation 
came  on,  and  a  debate  on  the  subject 
broke  out  all  along  the  line.  The  echoes 
of  it  were  heard  in  places  high  and 
places  low.  In  the  discussion  cf  the  day, 
a  symposium  was  prepared  for  the  North 
American  Review,  and  to  this  the  Speaker 
of  the  House  was  a  contributor.  The 
caption  was  :  "  Ought  the  Negro  to  be 
Disfranchised?"  The  contributors  were 
L.  Q.  C.  Lamar,  Wade  Hampton,  James  A.  Garfield,  Alexander  H.  Stephens, 
Wendell  Phillips,  Montgomery  Blair  and  Thomas  A.  Hendricks.  To  Blaine 
was  assigned  the  prominent  part  of  opening  and  closing  the  discussion,  which 
was  able  and  exhaustive.  The  articles  appeared  in  1S70,  and  it  was  conceded 
that  those  contributed  by  Blaine  were  among  the  ablest  of  all.  It  is  an  odd 
circumstance  in  the  political  history  of  our  times  that  the  question  at  issue  is, 
after  nearly  a  quarter  of  a  century,  as  vital  as  ever.  It  has  shifted,  however,  some- 
what from  the  narrower  issue  of  the  enfranchisement  of  the  black  men  to  the  broader 
questions  of  the  enfranchisement  of  the  ignorant,   the  vicious  and  the  incapable. 

It  is,  indeed,  a  serious  problem  in  a  free  government  to  determine  whether 
or  not  the  suffrage  should  be  universal,  or  whether  in  some  way  it  should  be 
restricted  to  those  who  are,  for   the  time,  already  qualified   to  use  it.     It  would 


122  LIFE   AND   WORK   OF  JAMES   G.   BLAINE. 

seem  to  go  with  the  saying  that  none  should  be  permitted  to  vote  who  were 
not  capable  of  casting  an  intelligent,  honest  and,  let  us  say,  virtuous  ballot.  On 
the  other  hand,  it  seems  to  go  with  the  saying  that  in  a  democratic  country 
all  must  alike  have  the  right  to  declare  their  choice,  and  from  one  point 
of  view  at  least,  to  stand  as  absolute  equals  before  the  universal  law  of 
manhood.  It  may  well  be  urged  against  those  who  advocate  a  restricted 
suffrage  that  the  principle  of  withholding  the  right  to  vote,  that  is  to  say, 
the  power  of  citizenship,  from  a  man  until  he  has  first,  and,  as  it  were, 
in  the  abstract,  qualified  himself  to  exercise  the  rights  of  citizenship,  is  about 
on  a  level  with  the  policy  of  the  fool  in  the  fable,  who  resolved  never  to  go 
into  the  water  until  he  had  learned  to  swim.  Suffice  it  to  say  that  in  the 
American  Republic  the  problem  of  unrestricted  suffrage  has  not  yet  been 
adequately  solved. 

With  the  extension  of  his  term  of  service,  the  reputation  of  Blaine  increased, 
until  he  began  to  be  mentioned  for  the  presidency.  Among  the  Republican 
leaders,  there  were,  from  this  time  forth  only  a  few  to  compete  with  him  for 
the  first  place.  One  of  these  was  Conkling ;  another  was  Garfield ;  another 
was  Morton  ;  several  others,  such  as  Edmunds,  and  Sherman,  appeared  in  the 
lists.      Biit  of  these  we  shall  speak  further,  by  and  by. 

The  reader  is  perhaps  informed,  either  by  his  memory  or  his  books,  of  the 
deteriorated  condition  of  the  Government  in  the  after  part  of  the  Grant  admin- 
istrations. The  President  of  the  United  States  was  not,  himself,  in  any 
measure,  responsible  for  the  state  of  affairs  that  supervened.  That  state  of  affairs 
arose  out  of  antecedent  conditions  and  was,  in  a  degree,  independent  of  the 
personal  actors  who  were  then  on  the  public  stage. 

We  might  almost  say  that  the  actors,  at  that  time,  were  victimized  by 
history.  They  inherited  a  corrupt  and  corrupting  condition.  This  condition, 
for  the  most  part,  had  its  roots  in  money.  The  Credit  Mobilier  had  its  root 
in  money.  The  whisky  frauds  had  their  origin  in  money  and  the  money 
motive.  To  get  rich,  to  acquire  enormous  wealth  and  therebv  to  gain  an  ascend- 
ancy over  society,  which,  in  Europe,  comes  rather  by  birth  and  rank,  is  a 
motive  naturally  strong  with  the  American  people.  For  a  long  time  after  the 
Civil  War  the  opportunity  and  motive  of  speculation  were  abroad. 

The  Republican  party,  at  the  time  of  which  we  speak,  was  put  on  the 
defensive  by  its  political  enemies  and  lashed,  as  to  its  back,  with  many  stripes 
— some  of  them  just.  Almost  every  man  in  public  life  who  belonged  to  the 
dominant  party  between  1S68  and  1878  was  subjected  to  merciless  assault  on 
the  score  of  honesty/.  Leader  after  leader  was  assailed  as  a  dishonest  man 
Not  a  few  were  ruined  or  at  least  driven  into  retirement  by  the  attacks  that 
were  made  upon  them.  Blaine,  while  in  the  speakership,  escaped  ;  but  the 
enemy  lay  in  wait  for  him,  and  in  proportion  to  his  rise,  and  in  particular  in 
the  degree  that  the  presidency  seemed  to  beckon,  were  the  conditions  prepared 
for  an  attack  upon  him. 

LIFE   AND   WORK   OF  JAMES   G.    BLAINE-  123 

We  have  spoken  of  the  popularity  with  which  Blaine  administered  the 
duties  of  the  Speaker's  office.  At  his  first  entrance  upon  those  duties,  he  had 
said :  "  The  gratification  which  this  signal  mark  of  your  confidence  brings  to 
me,  finds  its  only  drawback  in  the  diffidence  with  which  I  assume  the  weighty 
duties  devolved  upon  me.  Succeeding  to  a  chair  made  illustrious  by  the  services 
of  such  eminent  statesmen  and  skilled  parliamentarians  as  Clay,  and  Stevenson, 
and  Polk,  and  Winthrop,  and  Banks,  and  Grow,  and  Colfax,  I  may  well  distrust 
my  ability  to  meet  the  just  expectations  of  those  who  have  shown  me  such  marked 
partiality.  But  relying,  gentlemen,  on  my  honest  purpose  to  perform  all  my 
duties  faithfulU*  and  fearlessly,  and  trusting  in  a  large  measure  to  the  indul- 
gence which  I  am  sure  you  will  always  extend  to  me,  I  shall  hope  to  retain, 
as  I  have  secured,  your  confidence,  your  kindly  regard  and  your  generous  support." 

How  well  that  "generous  support"  was  extended  to  him  may  be  judged 
by  the  tone  of  the  House  when  the  Speaker  came  to  the  close  of  his  first 
term.  On  the  third  of  March,  1871,  the  Forty-first  Congress  expired.  On 
that  day  Samuel  S.  Cox,  of  New  York,  who  was  leader  of  the  Democratic  min- 
ority in  the  house,  offered  the  following  resolution  : — 

"  Resolved,  In  view  of  the  difficulties  involved  in  the  performance  of  the 
duties  of  the  presiding  officer  of  this  House,  and  of  the  able,  courteous,  digni- 
fied and  impartial  discharge  of  those  duties  by  the  Honorable  J.  G.  Blaine 
during  the  present  Congress,  it  is  eminently  becoming  that  our  thanks  be  and 
they  are  hereby  tended  to  the  Speaker  thereof." 

The  gap  between  the  first  and  second  speakership,  however,  was  but  the 
span  of  a  vacation.  When  the  Forty-second  Congress  convened,  on  the  fourth 
of  March,  1S71,  Blaine  was  re-elected  Speaker  by  a  vote  of  126  to  92,  the  min- 
ority being  cast  for  George  W.  Morgan,  of  Ohio.  The  Speaker  entered  upon 
his  duties  in  the  same  manner  and  spirit  as  before,  making  an  address  of  the 
highest  order  on  taking  the  chair. 

It  was  at  this  time,  namety,  on  the  sixteenth  of  March,  187 1,  that  the 
memorable  contest  occurred  on  the  floor  of  the  House  between  the  Speaker  and 
Benjamin  F.  Butler,  of  Massachusetts.  It  was  the  heyday  of  Ku-kluxism  in 
the  South.  The  story  of  outrages  in  that  distracted  section  kept  drifting  into 
the  House  and  it  was  decided  that  it  would  be  expedient  to  appoint  a  Com- 
mittee of  Inquiry  to  investigate  the  alleged  outrages  in  the  Southern  States. 
An  amendment  to  the  resolution  had  been  added  in  the  committee  at  the  sug- 
gestion of  Mr.  Blaine,  and  this  fact  coming  to  the  knowledge  of  Mr.  Butler, 
the  latter  made  it  the  basis  of  one  of  his  peculiar,  personal  and  political 
attacks.  It  seems  that  in  the  constitution  of  the  standing  committees,  Butler 
had  expected  to  receive  the  chairmanship  of  the  Committee  on  Ways  and 
Means.  The  Speaker,  however,  on  inquiry,  found  that  such  an  appointment 
would  be  highly  disagreeable  to  the  party  in  power  and  unpopular  to  the 
country  at  large.  He  therefore  passed  Butler  by,  greatly  to  the  disgust  of  the 

124  LIFE   AND   WORK   OF  JAMES   G.    BLAINE. 

It  was  in  the  nature  of  General  Butler  to  lie  in  wait  for  those  whom  he 
imagined  had  done  him  wrong  and  to  use  them  up  on  occasion.  He  pursued 
this  policy  with  respect  to  Blaine  and  made  as  his  pretext  the  fact  that  the 
Speaker  had  gone  out  of  his  way  to  add  a  clause  to  a  resolution  which  the 
caucus  had  prepared  for  the  appointment  of  a  committee.  The  addition  made  by 
Blaine  had  been  simple  enough  and  was  to  the  purport  that  "  the  expenses  of 
'  said  committee  shall  be  paid  from  the  contingent  fund  of  the  House  of  Repre- 
sentatives." Butler  chose  to  regard  this  amendment  as  a  trick  and  sent  out  to 
the  newspapers  a  sort  of  letter  striking  the  Speaker  severe  blows.  The  latter, 
going  into  the  House,  called  to  the  chair  William  A.  Wheeler,  of  New  York, 
and  grappled  with  his  wily  foeman.  We  have  not  the  space  in  this  connection 
to  insert  the  debate  and  colloquy;  it  ma}'  suffice  to  say  that  the  Speaker  did 
not  issue  from  the  contest  worsted  by  his  antagonist.  In  conclusion,  he 
said  : 

"  Now,  Mr.  Speaker,  nobody  regrets  more  sincerely  than  I  do  any  occur- 
rence which  calls  me  to  the  floor.  On  questions  of  propriety  I  appeal  to 
members  on  both  sides  of  the  House,  and  they  will  bear  me  witness,  that  the 
circulation  of  this  letter  in  the  morning  prints,  its  distribution  throughout  the 
land  by  telegraph,  the  laying  it  upon  the  desks  of  members,  was  intended 
to  be  by  the  gentleman  from  Massachusetts,  not  openly  and  boldly,  but 
covertly — I  will  not  use  a  stronger  phrase — an  insult  to  the  Speaker  of  this 
House.  As  such  I  resent  it.  I  denounce  the  letter  in  all  its  essential 
statements,  and  in  all  its  misstatements,  and  in  all  its  mean  inferences  and 
meaner  innuendoes.  I  denounce  the  letter  as  groundless,  without  justification, 
and  the  gentleman  himself,  I  trust,  will  live  to  see  the  day  when  he  will  be 
ashamed  of  having  written  it." 

At  the  adjournment  of  the  Forty-second  Congress,  on  the  eighth    of  June, 

1872,  William  E.  Niblack,  of  Indiana,  took  the  chair  temporarily,  and  Samuel 
J.  Randall,  of  Pennsylvania,  offered  the  following  resolution,  which  was 
unanimously  adopted  : — 

"  Resolved,  That  the  thanks  of  this  House  are  due  and  are  hereby 
tendered  to  James  G.  Blaine,  Speaker  of  the  House,  for  the  able,  prompt  and 
impartial  manner  in  which  he  has  discharged  the  duties  of  his  office  during 
the  present  session." 

.  When  the  Speaker  came  to  the  close  of  his  term  on    the    third    of   March, 

1873,  Daniel  W.  Voorhees,  of  Indiana,  rose  at  his  desk  and  said :  "  Mr. 
Speaker,  I  rise  to  present  a  matt?r  to  the  House  in  which  I  am  sure  every 
member  will  concur.  In  doing  so  I  perform  the  most  pleasant  duty  of  my 
entire  service  on  this  floor.  I  offer  the  following  resolution.  It  has  the 
sincere  sanction  of  my  head  and  of  my  heart.     I  move  its  adoption." 

The  clerk  then  read  the  resolution  as  follows  : — 

"  Resolved,  That  the  thanks  of  this  House  are  due  and  are  hereby 
tendered    to    Honorable    James    G.    Blaine    for    the    distinguished   ability    and 

LIFE   AND   WORK   OF  JAMES   G.    BLAINE.  125 

impartiality  with  which    he    has    discharged  the  duty  of  Speaker  of   the  House 
of  Representatives  of  the  Forty-second  Congress." 

The  same  confidence  was  retained  by  Mr.  Blaine  during  his  third  term  of 
service  in  the  Speaker's  chair.  This  was  the  Forty-third  Congress,  extending 
from  1S73  to  1875.  On  the  third  of  March,  in  the  latter  year,  the  resolution 
of  endorsement  was  submitted  by  Representative  Potter  as  follows  : — 

"  Resolved,  That  the  thanks  of  this  House  are  due  and  are  hereby 
tendered  to  Honorable  James  G.  Blaine,  Speaker  of  the  House  of  Representa- 
tives, for  the  impartiality,  efficiency  and  distinguished  ability  with  which  he 
has  discharged  the  trying  and  arduous  duties  of  his  office  during  the  Forty- 
third  Congress." 

This  resolution  also  was  unanimously  adopted   by  the  House. 

Blaine  had  now  come  to  the  close  of  his  third  term  in  the  Speakership. 
If  his  party  had  continued  in  power  in  the  House  it  seems  likely  that  the 
extraordinary  step  would  have  been  taken  of  electing  him  Speaker  for  the 
fourth  time.  History,  however,  does  not  know  If.  A  political  reaction  bad 
now  set  in  and  the  Republican  majority  in  the  House  of  Representatives  was 
overthrown.  The  biennial  election  of  1874  went  strongly  against  the  party  in 
power,  and  the  Democrats  gained  the  House.  This  carried  with  it,  of  course, 
the  organization  of  the  House.  Blaine's  term  in  the  Speakership  continued 
beyond  the  period  of  the  election,  and  at  the  close  of  the  Forty-third  Congress, 
in  March  of  1875,  his  retirement  was  already  determined.  He  availed  himself 
of  the  opportunity  to  deliver  the  following  brief  address  on  retiring  from  the 
chair,  which  he  had  so  long  and  so  ably  occupied  : — 

Gentlemen*  : — I  close  with  this  hour  a  six  years'  service  as  Speaker  of  the 
House  of  Representatives — a  period  surpassed  in  length  by  but  two  of  my  pre- 
decessors, and  equaled  by  only  two  others.  The  rapid  mutations  of  personal 
and  political  fortunes  in  this  country  have  limited  the  great  majority  of  those 
who  have  occupied  this  chair  to  shorter  terms  of  office. 

It  would  be  the  gravest  insensibility  to  the  honors  and  responsibilities  of 
life  not  to  be  deeply  touched  by  so  signal  a  mark  of  public  esteem  as  that 
which  I  have  thrice  received  at  the  hands  of  my  political  associates.  I  desire 
in  this  last  moment  to  renew  to  them,  one  and  all,  my  thanks  and  my 

To  those  from  whom  I  differ  in  my  party  relations — the  minority  of  this 
House — I  tender  my  acknowledgments  for  the  generous  courtesy  with  which 
they  have  treated  me.  By  one  of  those  sudden  and  decisive  changes  which 
distinguish  popular  institutions,  and  which  conspicuously  mark  a  free  people, 
that  minority  is  transformed  in  the  ensuing  Congress  to  the  governing  power 
of  the  House.  However  it  might  possibly  have  been  under  other  circumstances, 
that  event  renders  these  words  my  farewell   to  the  chair. 

The  speakership  of  the  American  House  of  Representatives  is  a  post  of 
honor,  of  dignity,  of  power,  of  responsibility.     Its  duties  are  at  once  complex  and 

126  LIFE   AND   WORK   OF  JAMES   G.    BLAINE. 

continuous ;  they  are  both  onerous  and  delicate ;  they  are  performed  in  the  broad 
light  of  day,  under  the  eye  of  the  whole  people,  subject  at  all  times  to  the 
closest  observation,  and  always  attended  with  the  sharpest  criticism.  I  think 
no  other  official  is  held  to  such  instant  and  such  rigid  accountability.  Parlia- 
mentary rulings,  in  their  very  nature,  are  peremptory :  almost  absolute  in 
authority  and  instantaneous  in  effect.  Thev  cannot  always  be  enforced  in  such 
a  way  as  to  win  applause  or  secure  popularity ;  but  I  am  sure  that  no  man 
of  any  party  who  is  worth}'  to  fill  this  chair  will  ever  see  a  dividing  line 
between  duty  and  policy. 

Thanking  you  once  more,  and  thanking  you  most  cordially  for  the  honor- 
able testimonial  )'OU  have  placed  on  record  to  my  credit,  I  perform  my  only 
remaining  duty  in  declaring  that  the  Forty-third  Congress  has  reached  its  con- 
stitutional limit,  and  that  the  House  of  Representatives  stands  adjourned  without 
day.     '[Applause.] 

With  this  episode  we  reach  another  important  crisis  in  the  career  of  James 
G.  Blaine.  He  had  attained  the  speakership  and  held  it  for  six  years.  It  was 
in  the  nature  of  the  case  that  he  should  at  length  retire  and  turn  his  activities 
into  another  channel.  The  people  of  his  home  district  in  Maine  were  by  no 
means  in  accord  with  the  popular  verdict  by  which  the  House  of  Representa- 
tives had  been  turned  over  to  the  Democracy.  On  the  contrary,  they  re-elected 
Blaine  to  the  House,  and  with  the  opening  of  the  Forty-fourth  Congress  he 
appeared  on  the  floor  as  the  leader  of  the   Republican  minority. 

Political  relations  as  well  as  personal  had  now  been  reversed.  Michael  C. 
Kerr,  of  Indiana,  was  chosen  Speaker,  and  Blaine  must  place  himself  in  the 
attitude  of  an  objector  and  critic  of  the  administration  in  its  legislative  depart- 
ment. At  the  same  time,  the  prize  of  the  presidency  came  in  view  and  seemed 
to  hang  temptingly  near  to  the  hands  of  the  ex-Speaker.  His  ascendancy  in  his 
party  was  undoubted,  and  it  seemed  the  natural,  if  not  the  inevitable,  thing  that 
that  party  should  now  stamp  its  approval  on  The  Man  from  Maine  by  electing 
him  to  the  presidency.  In  the  following  chapter  we  are  to  recount  the  remainder 
of  Mr.  Blaine's  public  career  down  to  the  time  of  his  retiracy  to  private  life. 
This  will  include  the  period  of  his  contest  for  the  presidency  and  of  his  service 
in  the  office  of  Secretary  of  State. 




FTER  his  entrance  into  the  House  of  Representa- 
ves  in  the  Forty-fourth  Congress,  James  G. 
laine  was  a  known  aspirant  for  the  presidency. 
The  arena  was  favorable.  The  House  is  on  the 
■  hole  a  better  field  for  the  display  of  popular 
talents  than  is  the  Senate,  or,  indeed,  than 
any  other  official  place.  The  House  is  con- 
tentious. The  American  people  like  conten- 
tion. Political  parties  feed  on  contention  and 
grow  great  when  the}'  have  the  better  of  the  dis- 
pute. The  epoch  at  which  Mr.  Blaine  came 
back  to  Congress,  no  longer  Speaker,  but 
leader  of  the  Republican  minority,  favored  the 
display  of  the  great  talent  which  he  possessed. 
Let  us  note  the  progress  of  events.  The  old  plan  of  reconstruction  had  virtually 
proved  a  failure.  The  South  would  none  of  it.  At  length  she  had  opportunity 
to  express  herself  in  her  own  manner,  and  the  result  was  the  sending  up  of  the 
old  leaders  whom  she  had  admired  to  be  her  leaders  again.  Ten  years  had  now 
elapsed  since  the  failure  of  the  rebellion.  The  American  heart  on  both  sides 
was  still  hot  with  the  expiring  embers  of  the  great  contest.  A  great  number 
of  the  first  men  of  the  exploded  Confederacy  now  came  into  Congress.  Their 
presence  there  was  a  matter  of  joy  to  the  majority  of  the  Southern  people;  but 
it  was  annoying  to  a  majority  of  the  North.  About  sixty  brigadier  generals 
of  the  Confederate  army  walked  into  Congress  as  the  representatives  of  the  very 
people  whom  they  had  led  in  the  war  against  the  Union.  Their  demeanor  was 
not  modest.  As  to  punishing  those  who  had  led  in  the  dismemberment  of  the 
Union  and  in  the  secession  war,  that  had  been  given  up.  Not  only  did  the 
leaders  of  the  rebellion  go  unpunished,  but  now  thev  came  applauded  and  took 
their  places  in  the  council  chambers  of  the  nation. 

The  reader  will  not  forget  that  the  constitutional  amendment  had  interposed 

some  barriers  against  those   who  had  been  chiefly   responsible  for  the  Civil  War. 

The  Fourteenth  Amendment  bore    upon    them    with  considerable  pressure.     But 

provision  was  made  for  the  removal  of  such  disabilities  as  were  thereby  imposed. 

We  are  here  to  make  note  of  one  of  those    preliminary  contests    by   which 

James  G.  Blaine  was  confirmed  in  the  esteem  of  his  party  as  a  chieftain  worthy 


128  LIFE   AND   WORK   OF  JAMES   G.    BLAINE. 

to  be  honored  with  the  presidency.  He  adopted  the  policy  of  making  himself 
the  champion  of  the  Republican  sentiment  in  certain  contests,  which  were  of  a 
kind  to  perpetuate  the  memories  of  the  war  and,  therefore,  likely  to  aronse  the 
old  Union  enthusiasm  throughout  the  country.  In  such  contests  Mr.  Blaine 
always  stood  as  a  presidential  figure.  Whether  he  knew  it  or  not ;  whether  he 
intended  it  or  not ;  the  fact  remained  that  the  people,  on  such  occasions,  saw 
him  as  their  champion  and  applauded  him,  not  more  for  his  success  in  the 
battle  that  was  on,  thau  for  his  probable  success  in  the  battle  that  was  to 

The  condition  of  affairs  of  which  we  have  spoken  above  was  present  at  the 
opening  of  the  Forty-fourth  Congress.  The  acting  Confederates  in  that  body 
were  men  of  strength  and  pride.  One  of  the  foremost  of  these  was  Benjamin 
H.  Hill,  of  Georgia.  In  the  first  day  of  1S76,  Samuel  J.  Randall,  of  Pennsyl- 
vania, pressed  to  an  issue  his  bill  before  the  House  for  the  removal  from  certain 
persons  and  classes  of  persons  such  disabilities  as  had  been  imposed  by  the 
Fourteenth  Amendment  to  the  Constitution.  Among  those  who  were  to  be  thus 
exempted  from  further  disparagement  under  the  fundamental  law  of  the  land 
were  the  figureheads  of  the  old  Confederacy,  including  Jefferson  Davis  himself. 
He  as  well  as  the  rest  was  to  be  restored  by  an  exceptional  law  to  such  rights 
and  privileges  as  were  enjoyed  by  other  citizens  under  the  Constitution.  The 
occasion  was  of  a  kind  to  provoke  a  stormy  debate. 

The  debate  came  on  under  a  motion  made  by  Blaine  himself.  This  was 
in  the  nature  of  an  amendment  to  the  Randall  bill.  The  amendment  which  he 
offered  provided  that  Jefferson  Davis,  the  former  President  of  the  Southern  Con- 
federacy, should  be  excepted  from  the  provision  of  the  bill.  This  brought  on 
the  discussion,  in  which  Benjamin  H.  Hill,  of  Georgia,  took  up  the  gauntlet 
against  Blaine  and  he  against  him.  The  men  were  matched  on  a  question 
which  was  likely  to  reinflame  public  opinion,  both  North  and  South,  and  to 
constitute  an  element  in  the  presidential  contest  about  to  ensue. 

In  another  part  of  this  volume  we  have  given  Blaine's  speech  on  this  occasion- 
It  was  one  of  extraordinary  strength  and  audacity.  He  threw  away  all  disguises 
and  attacked  the  late  President  of  the  Confederacy  as  the  person  responsible 
for  the  atrocities  of  Andersonville.  Blaine  had  fortified  himself  with  the 
damaging  facts  respecting  that  horror.  He  revealed  them  without  check.  He 
marshaled  them  against  the  government  of  the  Southern  Confederacy,  and  in 
particular,  against  Jefferson  Davis,  with  a  vehemence  amounting  almost  to  fury. 
Hill  was  worsted  in  the  encounter.  Though  he  might  well  plead  that  the  time 
for  crimination  and  recrimination  had  passed ;  though  he  might  well  urge  that 
the  Union  was  restored  and  that  the  lost  cause  was  indeed  lost ;  though  he 
might  point  to  himself  and  more  than  sixty  of  his  fellow  members  on  the  floor 
of  the  House  as  the  best  of  all  demonstration  that  the  war  was  ended  and  that 
further  animadversion  upon  those  who  had  participated  in  it  was  illogical  and 
anachronistic  ;  yet,  on  the  other  hand,  Blaine  might  meet  him  with  the  allegation 

LIFE   AND   WORK   OF  JAMES   G.   BLAINE.  129 

that  disunionism  was  not  only  rampant,  but  that  it  was  seeking  to  glorify 
itself,  to  make  itself  historically  respectable,  and  that  the  responsibility  of  the 
head  of  the  Confederacy-  for  the  horrors  of  the  Andersonville  prison  pen,  while 
they  might  be  passed  over  in  silence,  could  never  be  condoned  or  forgotten. 
The  argument  was  of  a  kind  to  appeal  most  strongly  to  the  heart  and  passion 
of  the  Union  veterans  and  indeed  to  the  sentiment  of  the  loyal  people  of  the 

Ever  after  this  encounter  the  name  of  Blaine  was  more  and  more  spoken 
of  for  the  presidency.  Jefferson  Davis  was  not  amnestied,  and  the  dislike  of 
those  who  had  favored  the  measure  for  Blaine  and  his  coadjutors  was  intensified. 
Now  it  was  that  the  opposition  to  him  took  the  personal  form.  Those  who 
desired  to  defeat  him  for  the  presidency  began  to  follow  his  tracks  from  his 
boyhood  to  the  present  day  The  business  was  not  characterized  with  either 
scruple  or  conscience.  The  worst  thing  that  could  be  discovered  as  to  his  public 
life  was  the  fact  that  he  had  been  the  owner  of  some  railroad  bonds.  These  he 
had  purchased  during  his  term  of  service  in  Congress.  It  became  the  concurrent 
wish  of  the  Democracy  and  of  those  Republicans  who,  for  various  reasons, 
wished  to  beat  him  for  the  presidency,  to  circulate  the  storv  of  the  candidate's 
connection  with  certain  railways  and  to  impress  the  public  mind  with  the 
belief  that  he  had  been  corrupt  in  relation  thereto. 

This  method  was  adopted  in  the  early  part  of  1S76.  The  presidential 
nominations  for  the  year  were  at  hand  and  Blaine  was  the  most  prominent  of  all 
those  who  were  looked  to  as  possible  standard  bearers  of  the  Republican  party.  It 
was,  therefore,  necessary  to  kill  him  off.  At  first  an  attack  was  made  upon 
him  with  respect  to  his  alleged  connection  with  the  Union  Pacific  Railroad 
Company  and  tu  the  receipt  by  him  of  certain  moneys  from  the  treasury  of  that 
road.  This  charge  took  form  in  the  month  of  March,  1S76,  and  it  became 
necessary  for  Blaine  to  fortify  himself  with  certain  documents  and  correspond- 
ence to  disprove  the  allegation  made  against  him.  This  he  did  disprove  by 
the  testimony  of  Sidney  Dillon,  at  that  time  President  of  the  Union  Pacific 
Railroad  Company,  and  by  Colonel  Thomas  A.  Scott,  who  had  previously  held 
the  same  office.  Both  of  these  gentlemen  testified  that  Mr.  Blaine  had  not,  either 
directly  or  indirectly,  received  from  the  company  any  moneys  or  emoluments, 
and  that  the  charges  made  against  him  were  false  in  subject  matter  and 
spirit.  The  idea  was  to  compel  Blaine  to  call  for  a  Committee  of  Investiga- 

It  was  already  April  of  1876,  and  in  two  months  the  Republican  National 
Convention  would  be  held.  It  would,  therefore,  be  only  necessary  or  convenient 
to  withhold  the  proceedings  of  the  committee  until  after  the  convention,  in 
order  to  dispose  of  the  most  promising  candidate.  That  done,  the  committee 
might  report  whatever  it  pleased.  It  was  not  to  be  supposed,  however,  that 
Blaine  would  permit  this  scheme  to  go  unchallenged.  He  went  boldly  into  the 
House;  got  a  hearing  in  that  body  on  the  twenty-fourth  of  April,  1876,  and 


exolained  his  connection  or  want  of  connection  with  the  Union  Pacific  Railroad, 
and  also  the  facts  respecting  his  possession  of  certain  bonds  and  stocks  of  the 
Little  Rock  and  Fort  Smith  Railroad  Company. 

It  was  in  connection  with  the  last  named  organization  that  Blaine  was  most 
hardly  pressed  by  his  enemies.  The  facts  seem  to  have  been  about  as  follows  : — 
In  the  last  days  of  Fillmore's  administration,  that  is,  in  the  beginning  of  1853, 
the  Government  of  the  United  States  granted  to  the  State  of  Arkansas  certain 
public  lands  within  that  State  to  be  used  by  the  State  authorities  in  promoting 
the  construction  of  railways.  In  pursuance  of  this  grant,  the  Legislature  of 
the  State  granted  articles  of  incorporation  to  the  Little  Rock  and  Fort  Smith 
Railroad  Company,  giving  also  to  the  company  a  part  of  the  lands  which  the 
State  had  received  from  the  general  Government ;  namely,  about  five  thousand 
acres  to  the  mile.  It  was  found  impossible,  however,  to  dispose  of  the  lands  thus 
granted,  and  the  construction  of  the  railway  was  by  no  means  promoted — at 
least  for  the  present.  Eight  years  went  by  and  nothing  was  accomplished. 
The  Civil  War  came  on  and  during  that  contest  there  was,  of  course,  nothing 
done  by  the  company  in  the  way  of  construction.  After  the  war,  namely,  in 
1S65,  the  gift  of  lands  by  the  general  Government  was  renewed  and  confirmed, 
and  the  Legislature  of  Arkansas  likewise  confirmed  the  incorporation  and  grants 
of  the  Little  Rock  and  Fort  Smith  Company. 

For  two  or  three  years  that  company  was  unable  to  sell  its  lands  or  procure 
a  loan  thereon.  In  1S68,  however,  a  company  of  Boston  capitalists  agreed  to 
furnish  the  requisite  money  for  the  construction  of  the  Little  Rock  and  Fort 
Smith  road,  and  to  accept  the  securities  which  the  company  was  able  to  offer. 
Bonds  were  accordingly  prepared  by  the  company  aud  these,  in  the  summer  of 
1869,  were  put  on  sale  in  the  East.  Such  bonds  were  at  that  time  popular  ; 
railways  were  running  everywhere,  and  whoever  could,  invested  his  money  in 
them.  Among  other  purchasers,  Mr.  Blaine  went  into  the  market  aud  bought 
a  block  of  those  bonds.  He  made  the  purchase  at  the  regular  price  which  had 
been  fixed  for  their  sale.  The  enterprise  of  constructing  the  railroad,  however, 
proved  abortive,  and  by  and  by,  the  value  of  the  bonds  fell  away  to  a  minimum. 
Blaine  himself  in  this  way  lost  between  fifteen  and  twenty  thousand  dollars. 
Afterwards,  with  the  hope  of  securing  his  investment,  he  joined  with  others,  in 
like  predicament  with  himself,  in  advancing  some  capital  with  a  hope  of  helping 
out  the  investment  already  made.  This  also  was  unavailing,  and  he  was 
obliged  to  institute  proceedings  in  the  Circuit  Court  of  the  United  States  for 
Arkansas,  wherein  he  was  plaintiff,  for  the  reimbursement  of  his  money.  This 
contest  went  on  until  1874,  when  the  company  was  reorganized  and  Blaine 
received  new  stocks  and  bonds  for  the  old,  which  he  had  held. 

Meanwhile,  three  years  before  this  time,  namely,  in  1871,  two  other  railways 
had  become  interested  in  the  construction  of  the  Little  Rock  and  Fort  Smith 
road.  These  were  the  Atlantic  and  Pacific,  and  the  Missouri,  Kansas  and  Texas 
Railroad.     The  former  was  induced  to  purchase  a  share  in  the  stocks  and  bonds 

LIFE   AND   WORK   OF  JAMES   G.   BLAINE.  131 

of  the  Little  Rock  concern,  and  the  Missouri,  Kansas  and  Texas  followed  with 
a  like  purchase — but  not  so  large.  This  transaction,  on  the  part  of  the  Atlantic 
and  Pacific  Railroad  Company  was  known  to  Blaine,  and  the  fact  of  his 
acquaintance  in  that  quarter  gave  ground  for  the  insinuation  that  he  had  used 
his  influence  corruptly  in  Congress  in  favor  of  the  Atlantic  and  Pacific  road  in 
order  to  promote  the  purchase,  by  that  corporation,  of  the  stocks  of  the  half- 
defunct  Little  Rock  and  Fort  Smith  Company. 

This  charge  brought  the  business  into  such  shape  that  it  was  difficult  for 
Blaine  to  do  other  than  den}'.  But  he  gave  his  denial  with  frankness  and  force. 
Under  other  circumstances  it  cannot  be  doubted  that  his  speech  in  the  House, 
on  the  twenty-fourth  of  April,  would  have  given  a  quietus  to  the  whole  business. 
But  the  enemies  of  the  statesman  were  not  to  be  placated  with  auj-tking  that 
was  not  absolute  and  incontrovertible. 

As  the  first  of  June  approached  and  the  Republican  Convention  was  at  hand, 
the  investigation  into  Blaine's  connection  with  the  Fort  Smith  Railroad  was 
pressed  with  pertinacit}'  and  malice.  It  seemed  that  the  cloud  which  had  been 
carefully  prepared  was  to  hang  over  the  candidate's  head  when  the  convention 
of  his  party  should  assemble.  The  committee  of  the  House,  before  which  the 
matter  was  under  investigation,  gave  out  what  it  chose  to  give  and  suppressed 
what  it  would.  At  length  the  correspondence  relative  to  the  matter  brought 
a  dispatch  from  London  which  was  in  the  nature  of  a  refutation  of  the  half- 
formed  charges  against  which  Blaine  was  contending.  This  dispatch  was  taken 
by  Proctor  Knott,  of  Kentucky,  chairman  of  the  committee,  and  by  him  sup- 

It  chanced,  however,  that  Blaine  learned  of  the  existence  of  the  dispatch 
and  of  the  policy  of  the  chairman  in  withholding  it  from  the  public.  This  fact 
determined  him  to  go  again  before  the  House  and  fight  off  his  accusers.  The 
particular  thing  alleged  against  him  in  the  second  attack  was  that  he  had 
purchased  bonds  of  the  Arkansas  and  Little  Rock  Railway  after  Congress  had 
legislated  favorably  concerning  the  road.  It  seems  that  in  connection  with 
this  part  of  the  business  Blaine  had  had  some  private  correspondence  with  one 
of  his  friends  in  Boston,  and  in  the  course  of  this  correspondence  he  had 
expressed  the  wish  that  the  same  should  remain  private  or  be  destroyed.  The 
knowledge  of  this  correspondence  reached  a  man  named  Mulligan,  living  in 
Boston,  and  he  gained  possession  of  Mr.  Blaine's  letters  respecting  proposed 
investments  in  the  stocks  referred  to.  The  man  Mulligan  was  summoned  by 
the  Congressional  Committee  to  come  to  Washington. 

Blaine  was  on  the  alert,  however,  and  going  to  Mulligan  in  person  he 
managed  by  entreaty  and  expostulation  in  gaining  possession  of  the  whole 
correspondence.  Having  thus  possessed  himself  of  his  own  letters,  he  wTent,  on  the 
fifth  of  June,  into  the  House  of  Representatives  and  rising  to  a  question  of 
personal  privilege  read  the  whole  correspondence  and  had  it  printed  in  the 
Congressional    Record.     It  was  on    this  occasion  that   he,  in  his  own    language, 

LIFE   AND   WORK   OF    JAMES   G.   BLAINE.  133 

u  took  forty-four  millions  of  his  countrymen  into  his  confidence.  "  As  to  the 
letters  themselves,  they  showed  that  Blaine  had  had  no  dealings  in  any  bonds  except 
those  of  the  Arkansas  and  Little  Rock  Railroad  ;  that  he  had  purchased  these 
at  the  usual  market  price,  and  that  he  had  lost  thereon  about  $20,000.  The 
allegation  that  he  had  been  bribed  with  gifts  of  bonds  to  promote  legislation 
favorable  to  the  road  was  not  sustained.  Everything  was  clear  enough  to  those 
who  desired  to  have  it  clear  ;  but  the  malcontents  and  the  enemy  still  continued 
to  suspect  and  to  utter  innuendoes.  On  the  whole,  Blaine's  speech  of  the  fifth 
of  June  was  satisfactory  to  his  party.  It  is  possible  that  the  charges  against 
him  had  some  effect  to  darken  his  prospects  in  Cincinnati.  But  the  probability 
is  that  the  course  of  events  was  not  seriously  deflected  by  all  that  was  said 
and  dene. 

It  has  been  agreed  by  those  acquainted  with  the  facts,  that  the  speech  of  Blaine, 
on  the  floor  of  the  House,  delivered  in  the  midst  of  intense  excitement,  in  the 
presence  of  expectant  members,  and  crowded  galleries,  while  the  speaker  held 
aloft  the  bundle  of  incriminating  letters,  was  the  most  striking  and  dramatic 
episode  of  his  whole  career.  It  is  probable  that  the  incident  has  never  been 
equaled  in  Congress  or  out  of  Congress.  Garfield,  who  was  an  acute  observer, 
declared  that  the  spectacle  surpassed  anything  he  had  ever  known.  It  was 
felt,  for  the  time,  that  Blaine  had  swept  everything  into  the  river,  and  that  his 
connection  with  the  railroad  interests  of  the  Southwest  would  not  return  to 
plague  him  further. 

It  should  be  remarked  that  his  speech  in  May,  on  the  same  subject,  had 
been  well  received  by  the  country.  Even  Harper's  Weekly  had  declared  that 
his  refutation  of  the  slanders  against  him  had  been  ample  and  complete.  After 
this,  however,  the  charges  were  revived  including  the  allegation  that  Blaine 
had  unloaded  his  worthless  Little  Rock  bonds  on  the  Missouri  Pacific  Railway, 
and  in  this  form  the  charge  was  more  difficult  to  meet.  Indeed  the  matter 
was  ramified  into  many  forms  and  was  made  to  serve  for  what  purpose  it 
might  in  the  political  animosities  of  the  day.  Blaine's  refutation  in  the  early 
part  of  June  trammeled  up  the  consequences  sufficiently  to  enable  him  to  go 
before  the  Cincinnati  convention  with  a  fair  prospect  of  success.  Certain  it  is 
that  when  that  body  convened  to  select  a  standard-bearer  for  the  Republican 
partv,   Blaine  was  strongly  in  the  lead. 

The  Republican  National  Convention  of  1S76  met  in  Cincinnati  on  the 
fourteenth  of  June  and  was  organized  by  the  selection  of  Honorable  Theodore 
M.  Pomeroy,  of"  New  York,  as  temporary  chairman.  The  permanent  chairman 
was  Honorable  Edward  McPherson,  of  Pennsylvania.  Already  before  the 
assembling  of  the  convention,  the  excitement  had  risen  to  the  highest  pitch. 
Cincinnati  was  filled  with  politicians  and  statesmen,  supported  by  immense 
throngs  of  the  rank  and  file,  bearing  banners  and  shouting  for  their  favorite 
candidates.  By  this  time  the  telegraph  service  and  newspaper  methods  had 
been    perfected  to  the  extent    that  throughout    the    country  the  people    were  in 


touch  with  the  convention.  In  every  town  there  was  an  expectant  crowd 
gathered  at  the  telegraph  station  anxious  to  hear  the  news.  We  may  here 
note  the  personalities  of  the  contest. 

Among  these  we  may  mention  first  of  all  Roscoe  Conkling,  of  New  York. 
That  statesman  was  in  the  battle  to  beat  Blaine  and  to  gain  if  he  might  the 
nomination  for  himself.  His  method  was  to  work  within  the  lines  of  party 
organization.  The  Conkling  forces  were  to  vote  first  of  all  for  their  leader  and 
after  that  to  support  such  candidate  as  might  be  most  efficiently  used  against 
Blaine.  Something  of  this  sentiment  prevailed  in  all  parts  of  the  field.  There 
was  a  disposition  to  combine  against  the  leading  candidate  and  prevent  his 

After  Conkling,  we  may  mention  Benjamin  H.  Bristow  as  a  possibility  of 
the  occasion.  Bristow  was  supposed  to  have  done  great  things  in  the  last 
months  of  the  Grant  administration  towards  instituting  a  reform  in  the  methods 
of  the  government.  His  name  was  used  and  his  candidacy  advocated  by  those 
who  had  committed  themselves  to  that  somewhat  indefinite  thing  called  reform. 
Bristow  was  at  this  time  Secretary  of  the  Treasury  in  the  cabinet  of  General 
Grant.  He  was  thought  to  have  exerted  himself  in  a  manner  most  \  rtuous 
and  energetic  with  respect  to  the  whisky  frauds  with  which  the  administration 
had  been  scandalized  of  late.  It  was  for  this  reason,  in  large  measure,  that  his 
candidacy  was  promoted  at  the  Cincinnati  convention. 

Next  in  order  we  may  mention  Oliver  P.  Morton,  of  Indiana.  Morton  was 
one  of  the  tremendous  men  of  his  day.  He  had  been  war  governor  of  Indiana 
at  the  age  of  thirty-seven.  He  had  risen  rapidly  to  the  Senate  of  the  United 
States  and  had  become  a  leader  in  that  body  almost  from  the  first  day  of  his 
entrance.  He  stood  in  large  measure  for  the  strength  and  the  animosity  of 
the  war  spirit.  He  was  a  man  of  battle  and  conquest,  whose  notion  of  policy 
was  generally  limited  and  determined  by  the  prospect  of  victory.  As  early  as 
1867  he  had  been  weakened  in  body  by  an  attack  of  paralysis,  which  had  made 
his  step  unsteady,  but  had  fortunately  left  his  mind  as  clear  and  resolute  as  ever. 

Morton  had  been  one  of  the  right-hand  men  of  Lincoln.  He  went  into 
the  Cincinnati  convention  with  many  auspices  of  success  ;  but  was  not  able  to 
command  the  enthusiastic  following  that  Blaine  had  from  the  start.  One  of 
the  misfortunes  of  Morton's  candidature  was  that  a  large  part  of  his  strength 
was  gathered  from  the  factitious  negro  Republicanism,  which  had  been  estab- 
lished by  the  party  throughout  the  South.  This  element  would  count  strongly 
in  a  convention ;  but  not  strongly  at  the  election. 

Another  name,  mentioned  rather  obscurely  at  first,  was  that  of  Rutherford 
B.  Hayes,  Governor  of  Ohio.  Hayes  had  been  a  valiant  soldier.  He  had  stood 
like  a  hero  on  the  crest  of  Cemetery  Ridge.  His  war  record  was  above 
reproach.  He  had  said  that  any  man  who  would  leave  the  field  to  go  home 
and  run  for  office  "ought  to  be  scalped" — an  expression  not  unpleasing  to  the. 
loyal  heart.     After  the  war  he  had  been  three  times  elected  Governor  of  Ohio. 


At  the  time  of  the  convention,  though  he  had  not  been  much  spoken  of  as 
the  presidential  candidate,  he  nevertheless  possessed  the  qualities  of  a  dark 
horse  in  admirable  proportion.  There  were  also  other  candidates,  actual  and 
possible ;  but  those  above  named  were  the  prominent  contestants. 

When  the  time  came  for  nominating  candidates  before  the  convention,  a 
remarkable  episode  occurred.  Hitherto  it  had  been  the  custom  that  the  candi- 
dates before  national  conventions  should  be  named  by  some  distinguished  per- 
sonages in  the  form  of  a  nomination.  On  this  occasion  the  country  was 
treated  to  a  sensation.  The  nominations  proceeded  in  the  usual  manner  until 
it  came  the  turn  of  Blaine.  Thereupon,  Colonel  Robert  G.  Iugersoll,  of  Illinois, 
ascended  the  platform,  and  in  the  midst  of  the  greatest  enthusiasm,  delivered 
a  brief  speech,  which  has  been  regarded  as  among  the  gems  produced  by  that 
famous  orator.  The  effect  was  as  marvelous  as  the  matter.  The  address  was 
immediately  republished  everywhere  and  the  sobriquet  of  the  "  Plumed 
Knight  "  stuck  to  Blaine  during  the  rest  of  his  life.  The  nominating  speech 
of  Colonel  Ingersoll  was  as  follows : — 

Massachusetts  may  be  satisfied  with  the  loyalty  of  Benjamin  H.  Bristow. 
So  am  I.  But  if  any  man  nominated  by  this  convention  cannot  carry  the  State 
of  Massachusetts,  I  am  not  satisfied  with  the  loyalty  of  that  State.  If  the 
nominee  of  this  convention  cannot  carry  the  grand  old  Commonwealth  of  Mas- 
sachusetts by  75,000  majority,  I  would  advise  them  to  sell  out  Faneuil  Hall  as 
a  Democratic  headquarters.  I  would  advise  them  to  take  from  Bunker  Hill 
that  old  monument  of  glory. 

The  Republicans  of  the  United  States  demand  as  their  leader  in  the  great 
contest  in  1876  a  man  of  intelligence,  a  man  of  integrity,  a  man  of  well-known 
and  approved  political  opinions.  They  demand  a  reformer  after  as  well  as  before 
the  election.  They  demand  a  politician  in  the  highest,  broadest  and  best  sense 
— a  man  of  superb  moral  courage.  They  demand  a  man  acquainted  with  public 
affairs,  with  the  wants  of  the  people,  with  not  only  the  requirements  of  the  hour, 
but  with  the  demands  of  the  future.  They  demand  a  man  broad  enough  to  com- 
prehend the  relations  of  this  Government  to  the  other  nations  of  the  earth. 
They  demand  a  man  well  versed  in  the  powers,  duties  and  prerogatives  of  each 
and  every  department  of  this  Government. 

They  demand  a  man  who  will  sacredly  preserve  the  financial  honor  of  the 
United  States  ;  one  who  knows  enough  to  know  that  the  national  debt  must  be 
paid  through  the  prosperity  of  this  people  ;  one  who  knows  enough  to  know 
that  all  the  financial  theories  in  the  world  cannot  redeem  a  single  dollar;  one 
who  knows  enough  to  know  that  all  the  money  must  be  paid,  not  by  law,  but  by 
labor ;  one  who  knows  enough  to  know  that  the  people  of  the  United  States  have 
the  industry  to  make  the  money  and  the  honor  to  pay  it  over  just  as  fast  as  they 
make  it. 

The  Republicans  of  the  United  States  demand  a  man  who  knows  that 
prosperity  and  resumption  when  they  come  must  come  together ;  that  when  they 

136  LIFE   AND   WORK   OF  JAMES   G.    BLAINE. 

come  they  will  come  hand-in-hand  through  the  golden  harvest  fields  ;  hand-in-hand 
by  the  whirling  spindles  and  the  turning  wheels ;  hand-in-hand  past  the  open 
furnace  doors  ;  hand-in-hand  by  the  flaming  forges  ;  hand-in-hand  by  the 
chimneys  filled  with  eager  fire — greeted  and  grasped  by  the  coiiutless  sons 
of  toil. 

This  money  has  to  be  dug  out  of  the  earth.  You  cannot  make  it  by  passing 
resolutions  in  a  political  convention. 

The  Republicans  of  the  United  States  want  a  man  who  knows  that  this 
Government  should  protect  every  citizen  at  home  and  abroad  ;  who  knows  that 
any  government  that  will  not  defend  its  defenders  and  protect  its  protectors  is 
a  disgrace  to  the  map  of  the  world.  They  demand  a  man  who  believes  in  the 
eternal  separation  and  divorcement  of  church  and  school.  They  demand  a  man 
whose  political  reputation  is  spotless  as  a  star ;  but  they  do  not  demand  that 
their  candidate  shall  have  a  certificate  of  moral  character  signed  by  a  Con- 
federate Congress.  The  man  who  has  in  full,  heaped  and  rounded  measure  all 
these  splendid  qualifications  is  the  present  grand  and  gallant  leader  of  the 
Republican    party — James  G.  Blaine. 

Our  country,  crowned  with  the  vast  and  marvelous  achievements  of  its  first 
century,  asks  for  a  man  worthy  of  the  past  and  prophetic  of  her  future  ;  asks 
for  a  man  who  has  the  audacity  of  genius  ;  asks  for  a  man  who  is  the  grandest 
combination  of  heart,  conscience  and  brain  beneath  her  flag.  Such  a  man  is 
James  G.  Blaine. 

For  the  Republican  host,  led  by  this  intrepid  man,  there  can  be  no  defeat. 

This  is  a  grand  year — a  year  filled  with  the  recollections  of  the  Revolution  ; 
filled  with  proud  and  tender  memories  of  the  past,  with  the  sacred  legends  of 
liberty ;  a  year  in  which  the  sons  of  freedom  will  drink  from  the  fountains  of 
enthusiasm ;  a  year  in  which  the  people  call  for  a  man  who  has  preserved  in 
Congress  what  our  soldiers  won  upon  the  field  ;  a  }<ear  in  which  they  call  for 
the  man  who  has  torn  from  the  throat  of  treason  the  tongiie  of  slander ;  for  the 
man  who  has  snatched  the  mask  of  Democracy  from  the  hideous  face  of  rebel- 
lion ;  for  the  man  who,  like  an  intellectual  athlete,  has  stood  in  the  arena  of 
debate  and  challenged  all  comers,  and   who  is  still  a  total  stranger  to  defeat. 

Like  an  armed  warrior,  like  a  plumed  knight,  James  G.  Blaine  marched 
down  the  halls  of  the  American  Congress  and  threw  his  shining  lance  full  and 
fair  against  the  brazen  foreheads  of  the  defamers  of  his  country  and  the 
maligners  of  his  honor. 

For  the  Republican  party  to  desert  this  gallant  leader  now  is  as  though  an 
army  should  desert  their  general  upon  the  field  of  battle. 

James  G.  Blaine  is  now,  and  has  been  for  years,  the  bearer  of  the  sacred 
standard  of  the  Republican  party.  I  call  it  sacred  because  no  human  being 
can  stand  beneath  its  folds  without  becoming  and    remaining  free. 

Gentlemen  of  the  convention,  in  the  name  of  the'  Great  Republic,  the  only 
republic  that  ever  existed    upon    this  earth ;  in    the  name  of   all    her  defenders 

LIFE   AND   WORK   OF  JAMES   G.    BLAIXE.  137 

and  of  all  her  supporters;  in  the  name  of  all  her  soldiers  living;  in  the  name 
of  all  her  soldiers  dead  upon  the  field  of  battle,  and  in  the  name  of  those  who 
perished  in  the  skeleton  clutch  of  famine  at  Andersonville  and  Libby,  whose 
sufferings  he  so  vividly  remembers,  Illinois — Illinois  nominates  for  the  next 
President  of  this  country  that  prince  of  parliamentarians — that  leader  of  leaders 
— James  G.   Blaine." 

The  reader  is  already  familiar  with  the  result  of  the  convention.  The  ball 
opened  with  two  hundred  and  eighty-five  votes  for  Blaine,  one  hundred  and 
thirteen  for  Bristow,  ninety-nine  for  Conkling,  one  hundred  and  twenty-four 
for  Morton  and  sixty-one  for  Hayes.  The  contest  went  on  until  the  nom- 
ination of  Blaine  was  within  reach.  In  order  to  prevent  such  a  result,  the 
field  combined  against  him  and  threw  the  nomination  to  Hayes.  On  the  last 
vote  Blaine  had  three  hundred  and  fifty-one  against  three  hundred  and  eighty- 
four  for  the  successful  candidate.  The  result  was  well  calculated  to  dampen 
the  ardor  of  the  Blaine  contingent  and  some  fears  were  entertained  that 
coldness  on  the  part  of  the  defeated  statesman  and  his  following  would  work 
the  defeat  of  Governor  Hayes. 

Blaine,  however,  quickh'  set  the  matter  to  rest,  and  as  soon  as  the  result 
was  known  made  haste  to  assure  the  successful  candidate  of  his  hearty 
support.  While  the  balloting  was  going  on,  Blaine  and  Garfield  were  sitting 
together  in  the  house  of  the  former  at  Washington  City.  As  soon  as  the 
result  was  known  Blaine  took  his  pencil,  and  even  before  the  counting  of  the 
final  ballot  at  Cincinnati  had  been  completed,  wrote  the  following  telegram  to 
the  candidate  of  the  party  : — 

"To  Governor  R.  B.  Haves.  Columbus,  Ohio. 

I  offer  3'ou  my  sincerest  congratulations  on  j'our  nomination.  It  will  be 
alike  my  highest  pleasure,  as  well  as  my  first  political  duty,  to  do  the  utmost 
in  ruy  power  to  promote  your  election.  The  earliest  moments  of  my 
returning  and  confirmed  health  will  be  devoted  to  securing  you  as  large  a 
vote  in   Maine  as  she  would  have  given   for  myself.  J.   G.   Blaine." 

The  sequel  showed  that  Mr.  Blaine  kept  his  word  in  letter  and  spirit. 
The  contest  that  ensued  was  the  closest  in  the  political  history  of  the  country. 
But  the  fact  of  the  narrow  margin — if  margin  there  were — in  favor  of 
Governor  Hayes  could  not  be  attributed  to  any  lukewarmness  on  the  part  of 
the  supporters  of  Blaine.  Rather  was  the  result  to  be  accounted  for  by 
general  political  changes  that  were  taking  place  in  the  nation.  The  facts  are 
that  neither  Hayes  nor  Tilden  was  clearly  and  indisputably  elected  to  the 
presidency.  The  former  had  the  advantage  in  the  constitution  of  the  Electoral 
Commission — though  that  advantage  had  not  been  foreseen  by  the  leaders  of 
the  Democratic  party,  who  supposed  that  the  casting  vote  would  rest  with 
Judge  David  Davis,  of  the  Supreme  Court,  instead  of  with  Judge  Joseph  P. 



As  for  Tilden  the  States  carried  for  hiui  were  sufficient  to  elect;  that  can- 
not be  doubted ;  but  the  means  by  which  two  or  three  of  the  Gulf  States 
were  secured  for  the  Democratic  ticket  were  so  shocking,  so  repugnant  to 
fairness,  as  to  taint  the  votes  of  those  States  with  more  than  a  suspicion  of 
fraud.  Governor  Hayes  was  counted  into  office  by  the  Electoral  Commission 
only  two  days  before  the  date  of  inauguration.  He  took  the  office  and  held  it 
as  honorably  as  he  might  under  such  conditions  of  doubt  and  partisan  assault. 
It  remains  one  of  the  strange  things  of  recent  American  history  that  that 
administration  which  was  most   nearly,  in    both    its    personnel    and    its  method^ 

a  reform  administration,  has 
been  most  violently  and  persist- 
ently assailed  —  least  credited 
with  its  earnest  effort  in  behalf 
of  better  government. 

The  reader  will  not  fail  to 
note  in  the  dispatch  quoted 
above  from  Mr.  Blaine  to  his 
successful  competitor  a  reference 
to  his  own  health.  That  had 
recently  been  a  subject  of  much 
anxiety  to  himself  and  his 
friends.  A  short  time  before 
the  nominating  convention  at 
Cincinnati  Mr.  Blaine  had  been 
prostrated  with  sunstroke.  The 
matter  was  serious  and  the  coun- 
try was  considerably  moved  for 
several  days  with  the  endangered 
condition  of  the  popular  leader. 
The  attack  passed  off  and  Mr. 
Blaine  regained  his  usual  health. 
It  may  be  doubted,  however, 
whether  he  ever  was  completely  restored.  The  occurrence  of  such  an  attack  is 
likely  to  leave  a  shadow  of  apprehension  behind  it,  and  though  the  actual 
effects  of  the  injury  may  be  removed,  the  danger  of  a  return  is  likely  to  induce 
timidity  and  doubt,  both  in  the  subject  and  among  his  friends.  There  has 
never  been,  since  1876,  complete  confidence  in  the  validity  of  Mr.  Blaine's  health 
The  turn  of  affairs  at  Cincinnati  led  almost  immediately  to  a  change  in 
the  direction  of  Blaine's  public  career.  He  was  now  in  his  seventh  term  as  a 
Representative  in  the  House.  We  may  suppose  that  so  far  as  his  own  feelings 
were  concerned  he  did  not  desire  longer  service  in  that  body.  Perhaps  Blaine 
perceived  that  the  House  of  Representatives  was  better  adapted  to  his  talent 
and  disposition  than  the  Senate  of  the  United  States.      But    when    defeated    for 




k  -- 




Ex-Govenior  of  Maine, 

LIFE   AND   WORK   OF  JAMES   G.    BLAINE.  139 

the  presidential  nomination  lie  was  ready  to  make  the  change  to  the  upper 
congressional  body.  For  the  moment  it  appeared  that  the  way  was  hedged ; 
but  circumstances  presently  made  room  for  the  aspirant.  General  Grant 
having  accepted  the  resignation  of  Secretary  Bristow,  appointed  Senator  Lot 
M.  Morrill,  of  Maine,  to  the  vacancy  in  the  Treasury  Department.  This 
transference  of  Morrill  from  the  Senate  left  a  vacancy  in  that  body  which 
might  be  filled  by  appointment  of  the  Governor  of  Maine.  The  latter  office 
was  at  this  time  occupied  by  General  Selden  Connor,  who  appointed  Mr. 
Blaine  as  Morrill's  successor  in  the  Senate.  Thus,  on  the  tenth  of  July,  1S76, 
the  transference  of  Blaine  from  the  House  to  the  Senate  was  effected.  It  is 
not  improbable  that  the  whole  move  had  its  motive  and  reason  in  the  desire 
of  Blaine  and  his  friends  to  have  him  occupy  a  seat  in  the  Senate.  He 
signalized  the  event  by  addressing  a  letter  to  his  constituents,  from  which  we 
make  the  following  extract : — 

"  Beginning  with  1S62  you  have  by  continuous  elections  sent  me  as  your 
Representative  to  the  Congress  of  the  United  States.  For  such  marked  confi- 
dence I  have  endeavored  to  return  the  most  zealous  and  devoted  service  in  my 
power,  and  it  is  certainly  not  without  a  feeling  of  pain  that  I  now  surrender 
a  trust  by  which  I  have  always  felt  so  signally  honored.  It  has  been  my 
boast  in  public  and  in  private  that  no  man  on  the  floor  of  Congress  ever 
represented  a  constituency  more  distinguished  for  intelligence,  for  patriotism, 
for  public  and  personal  virtue.  The  cordial  support  you  have  so  uniformly 
given  me  through  these  fourteen  eventful  years  is  the  chief  honor  of  my  life. 
In  closing  the  intimate  relations  I  have  so  long  held  with  the  people  of  this 
district,  it  is  a  great  satisfaction  to  me  to  know  that  with  returning  health  I 
shall  enter  upon  a  field  of  duty  in  which  I  can  still  serve  them  in  common 
with  the  larger  constituency  of  which  they  form  a  part." 

Following  the  biographical  thread,  we  now  come  to  the  career  of  James  G. 
Blaine  in  the  Senate  of  the  United  States.  This  part,  however,  we  shall,  for 
the  present,  pass  over  in  order  to  give  an  account  of  his  subsequent  contests  for 
the  presidency.  It  may  suffice  to  say  that  the  four  years'  service  of  the  states- 
man in  the  Senate  increased  the  estimate  which  the  American  people  had  of  his 
genius  and  availability  for  the  presidency.  It  was  believed  by  his  friends 
moreover  that  the  attacks  which  had  been  made  upon  him  would  not  be  further 
renewed.  As  to  his  competitors,  the  field  was  cleared  somewhat ;  but  in  other 
respects  it  was  complicated.  Senator  Morton,  of  Indiana,  was  dead.  Bristowr  had 
disappeared.  Hayes  was  avowedly  not  a  candidate  for  re-election.  Conkling, 
though  as  ready  as  before  to  accept  the  highest  honors  of  his  party,  had  dis- 
covered a  new  lead  which  he  preferred  to  follow. 

This  new  adventure  was  the  candidacy  of  General  Grant  for  renomination 
to  the  presidency.  It  was  called  the  third-term  movement.  The  project  had 
the  powerful  support  of  Roscoe  Conkling,  Don  Cameron,  of  Pennsylvania,  and 
John  A.  Logan,  of  Illinois.      General  Grant  himself  had  been  abroad,  traveling- 



about  the  world  for  the  greater  part  of  the  interval  between  his  retiracy  and 
the  next  presidential  year.  He  came  home  by  way  of  San  Francisco,  and  was 
greeted  with  applause,  which  was  only  the  expiring  reverberations  of  that  which 
had  followed  him  around  the  globe.  It  was  believed  by  those  who  now  con- 
stituted themselves  his  political  champions  that  the  great  name  of  Grant  might 
be  used  to  conjure  with,  even  to  the  extent  of  defeating  therewith  any  other 
name  whatsoever  that  might  be  presented  to  the  Republican  National  Convention. 
With  respect  to  this  project  it  should  be  frankly  stated  that  the  so-called 
"  third-term  "  movement  was  not  a  third-term  movement  at  all.  True,  if  it  had 
been  successful,  it  would  for  the  third  time  have  carried  General  Grant  to  the 
presidency.  But  an  interval  or  four  years  had  elapsed.  During  that  time 
General  Grant  had  been  a  priv  ite  citizen.  He  had  no  official  relations  what- 
soever. He  had  no  emoluments  to  bestow — no  offices  to  scatter.  He  had  no 
power  to  renominate  himself,  beyond  such  power  as  belonged  to  an}'  other 
citizen,  phis  the    advantage    which    resided    in    his    name    and    fame.      To    this 

advantage  he  was  clearly  entitled.  Who 
would  rob  the  General  of  the  Union  army 
of  the  strong  hold  which  he  had  upon  the 
admiration  and  confidence  of  his  country- 
men? So  the  third-term  objection  did  not 
really  hold  against  General  Grant.  It 
could  hold  only  against  one  who,  going 
out  of  a  second  term  in  the  presidency, 
sought  to  renominate  himself  for  a  third. 
This  could  not  be  said  of  Grant.  He 
did  not  violate  any  tradition,  or  prece- 
dent, or  unwritten  law  of  his  country  in 
gen.  grant's  home  in  GALENA,  i860.  permitting    his    friends,  even    by   silence, 

in   1SS0,  to  re-present  his  name  for  the  presidency  of  the  Republic. 

The  fact,  however,  remained  that  the  apparition  of  Grant,  backed  and  pro- 
moted by  Coukling,  seriously  obscured  the  prospects  of  Blaine  with  the  approach 
of  the  presidential  year.  It  was  also  bad  for  Blaine  that  he  had  once  been 
defeated  in  convention.  It  is  surprising  to  note  how  such  things  run  in 
political  history.  It  would  seem  that  when  a  man  receives  the  nomination  for 
the  presidential  office  he  must  do  so  at  a  single  start.  He  must  rise  like  a 
rocket  and  suddenly  blaze  above  the  battlement.  If  he  rise  and  sink,  it  seems 
almost  impossible  for  him  to  attain  so  great  a  height  again. 

Chicago  was  selected  as  the  scene  of  the  Republican  National  Convention 
of  18S0.  The  date  was  set  for  the  second  of  June.  With  the  arrival  of  the 
day  and  the  gathering  of  the  convention,  it  was  evident  that  the  two  great 
candidates  were  Blaine  and  Grant.  Probably  the  latter  was  in  the  lead.  There 
was  a  contest  for  the  organization  of  the  convention.  The  honor  of  the  perma- 
nent chairmanship  fell  to  George  F.  Hoar,  of  Massachusetts.     The  forces  of  the 


two  leading  candidates  were  about  equally  divided,  and  the  mention  of  the  name 
of  either  evoked  a  chorus  of  long-continued  cheers.  The  city  was  wild  with 
excitement,  and  the  country,  as  had  been  the  case  four  years  previously,  shared 
in  the  anxiety  of  the  convention. 

On  this  occasion  Blaine  was  put  in  nomination  by  the  Honorable  James  F. 
Joy,  of  Michigan.  The  nominating  speech  was  received  by  the  Blaine  delegates 
and  by  his  adherents,  within  and  without  the  convention,  with  a  wild  uproar 
of  shouting  and  cheering.  Grant  was  put  in  nomination  by  Roscoe  Conkling 
in  one  of  the  most  effective  speeches  ever  delivered.  Senator  John  Sherman, 
of  Ohio,  was  nominated  by  Garfield,  and  the  names  of  George  F.  Edmunds, 
of  Vermont,  and  William  Windom,  of  Minnesota,  were  also  presented  to  the 
convention.  The  first  ballot  showed  the  strength  of  the  respective  candidates. 
Grant  had  three  hundred  and  four  votes ;  Blaine,  two  hundred  and  eighty-four ; 
Sherman,  ninety-three;   Edmunds,  thirty-four,  and  Windom,   ten. 

The  sequel  showed  that  this  declaration  of  opinion  and  preference  had  been 
made  deliberately.  Grant's  vote  remained  stead}'.  Blaine  swayed  a  little  up 
and  down,  but  never  reached  the  nominating  point.  The  other  candidates 
increased  or  waned  in  strength  to  a  limited  degree  ;  but  none  were  able  to  break 
the  solid  following  of  the  principal  competitors.  The  contest  went  on  day  by 
day  for  a  week.  It  was  a  wrestle  of  the  giants  and  neither  was  able  to  throw 
the  other.  At  length  it  became  apparent  that  Blaine  could  not  be  nominated. 
It  was  also  perhaps  apparent  that  Grant  would  not  receive  the  prize.  The  forces 
of  the  General,  however,  stood  firm  and  could  not  be  stampeded. 

At  length  the  attention  of  the  convention  began  to  turn  in  search  of  such 
a  candidate  as  would  be  acceptable  to  the  Blaine  party.  It  was  this  circumstance 
that  brought  Garfield  into  view.  On  the  seventh  day  of  the  convention  the 
name  of  that  successful  leader  was  openly  sprung  on  the  convention,  and  on 
the  thirty-sixth  ballot  Blaine's  friends  went  over  to  him  and  gave  him  the 
nomination.  Grant's  contingent,  on  the  last  ballot,  numbered  three  hundred 
and  six.  Garfield  received  three  hundred  and  ninety-nine,  while  forty-two  of  the 
Blaine  delegates  persisted  in  firing  their  last  charge  for  their  favorite.  The 
nomination,  however,  had  gone  to  the  man  of  Ohio  and  not  to  the  man  of 

It  cannot  be  denied  that  Blaine,  in  the  da}'  of  defeat,  generally  showed  up 
■well  in  his  spirit  and  conduct.  He  accepted  the  result  of  the  Chicago  conven- 
tion with  apparent  cheerfulness.  He  threw  himself  into  the  canvass  and  con- 
tributed a  full  measure  to  the  success  of  his  party.  Garfield  was  elected  and 
the  people  recognized  the  fact  that  it  was  the  fidelity  of  Blaine  that  had  secured 
this  result.     The  names  of  the  two  statesmen  became    indissolubly  associated. 

It  was  evident,  when  the  result  of  the  election  was  known,  that  Blaine 
would  be  of  the  substance  and  soul  of  the  new  administration.  Conkling  also 
had  given  in  his  allegiance  to  Garfield  and  had  contributed  powerfully  to  the 
success  of   the  ticket  in  New    York.      He  also  had  grounds  to  expect    that    his 



influence  in  the  incoming  administration  would  not  be  insignificant.  It  should 
be  noted,  however,  that  the  ascendancy  of  Blaine  and  Conkling  together  in  the 
same  administration  was  a  foregone  impossibility. 

When  Garfield  was  inaugurated  President,  Blaine  had  been  in  the  Senate 
for  nearly  five  years.  Public  opinion  pointed  to  him  in  advance  as  the  leader 
of  the  new  cabinet,  and  in  this,  expectation  was  not  disappointed.  The 
President  promptly  sent  in  the  name  of  Blaine  for  Secretary  of  State.  He  was 
thus  transferred  into  a  new  relation  at  the  head  of  the  Department  of  Foreign 
Affairs.  He  came  to  the  cabinet  with  full  preparation.  Always  a  student,  he 
had,  since  his  accession  to  the  Senate,  given  special  study  to  such  questions  as 

concerned  the  foreign  relations  of 
the  Government.  He  took  the 
portfolio  of  State  with  such  quali- 
fications as  few  men  have  pos- 
sessed for  the  office.  As  between 
himself  and  the  President,  there 
was  a  clear  case  of  friendship. 
Garfield  had  always  been  an  ad- 
mirer of  Blaine  and  a  supporter 
of  his  measures.  True,  he  had 
finally  accepted,  not  without  grati- 
fication and  pride,  the  prize  which 
had  seemed  to  belong  to  his  com- 
petitor. But  he  could  not  well 
blame  himself  for  the  turn  in 
affairs  which  had  brought  this 
about.  It  would  seem  that  Blaine 
was  reasonable  enough  to  take  the 
same  view  of  the  case,  aud  it  is 
not  evident  that  he  ever  held 
Garfield  responsible  for  wearing 
his  laurels.  At  all  events,  he 
threw  himself  with  might  and 
spirit  into  the  administration,  and  became  almost  immediately  the  leading  figure 
of  the  Government,  hardly  excepting  the  President    himself. 

In  other  parts  of  this  work  we  have  referred  once  and  again  to  the 
condition  of  affairs  during  the  brief  and  suddenly  eclipsed  administration  of 
Garfield.  Though  the  assassin's  bullet  struck  the  President,  it  also  hit  the 
political  purposes  and  career  of  the  Secretary  of  State.  He,  too,  went  down 
with  his  chieftain — though  not  immediate^.  The  beginning  of  the  year  18S2 
found  him  at  what  would  appear  to  have  been  the  end  of  the  way.  He 
resigned  from  the  cabinet  of  Arthur  to  become  a  private  citizen.  His  health 
was    somewhat    impaired ;    it    may    well    be    supposed    that    his    disappointments 




preyed    upon    him ;     his    nervous    energies   were    somewhat    exhausted    with  the 

excessive  application  which  had  marked  his  public  life.     In  another  chapter  we 

shall    follow   him    into  his   retiracy   and    note    the    events,  personal   and    public, 

that   belonged   to  that 

part    of    his    career.  _^-^"-.    \.y    ft" 

For    the     present     we 

pass  on  to  consider  his 

next    struggle    for  the 

presidency    of     the 

United  States. 

The  return  of  the  ^ 
presidential  year,  1884, 
brought  many  changes 
in  the  political  condi- 
tions that  had  formerly 
prevailed.  General 
Grant  was  in  private 
life.  John  Sherman  had 
emerged  somewhat  into 
prominence  as  a  possi- 
bility in  the  approach- 
ing campaign.  Presi- 
dent Arthur  and  his 
friends  had  great 
hopes  that  he  might 
secure  the  nomination 
to  the  place  which  he 
had  occupied  by  the 
accident  of  Garfield's 
death.  It  was  at  this 
time  that  the  fatal  in- 
fluence of  the  office- 
holding  classes  was 
first  manifested  in  full 
force  in  the  attempt 
to  perpetuate  the  ad- 
ministration and  there- 
by  to  save  themselves 
from  ouster. 

Strangely    enough,    Blaine    was    as 
ever;    indeed    he    was    more  prominent    and -popular   than  he   had  been  in   1876 
or    1880.      Several    other    names  were    now    before    the    people;    but    the    great 
name  was  that  of  Blaine.     His   life   in  the  interim  had  done  much  to  establish 

FROM     CANAL-BOY     TO     THE 




and  confirm  hirn  iu  popular  esteem.  Just  after  his  retiracy  from  office,  iu  the 
Arthur  administration,  he  had  been  called,  February  twenty-seventh,  1882,  to 
deliver  the  funeral  oration  on  Garfield.  This  address  was  given  in  the  House 
of  Representatives  and  was  accepted  as  the  best  and  truest  summary  and 
eulogium  of  the  martyred  President. 

On  his  retirement  to  private  life,  Blaine  at  once  took  up  the  preparation 
of  a  literary  work  which  he  had  contemplated  for  some  years.  This  was  the 
composition  of  a  history  of  the  National  Congress  for  the  twenty  years  from 
Lincoln  to  Garfield  (1861-1881).  He  now  established  himself  in  his  own 
home  at  Washington  and  set  about    the  work,  to  which    he    devoted    fully    two 

'i^v/   ;'i^^x-^^7?>^^ap^p£^ 




years  of  time  in  the  composition  of  the  first  volume.  This  volume  appeared 
early  in  1S84,  and  was  welcomed  by  the  public  as  a  work  of  great  strength, 
impartiality  and  historical  merit.  To  the  surprise  of  most  people,  all 
partisanship  had  disappeared,  and  the  author  presented  himself  as  a  dis- 
passionate historian,  treating  the  events  of  his  time  with  the  fairness  and 
judicial  accuracy  of  one  who  had  been  conscientiously  trained  to  the  pro- 
fession of  letters.  Another  astonishing  feature  of  the  book  was  the  fact  that 
the  references  to  himself  and  to  his  own  part  in  the  governmental  affairs  of 
his  day  were  made  few  and  of  smaller  importance  than  they  deserved.  His 
personal  competitors  in   public    life    were   treated   in    a  spirit  of   generosity    and 

146  LIFE   AND   WORK   OF  JAMES   G.    BLAINE. 

justice,  for  which  we  should  look  in  vain  in  nearly  all  the  similar  works 
which  have  been  composed  by  those  who  were  participants  in  the  affairs 

It  is  not  possible  for  an  author  to  know  the  cogitations  and  inner  intent 
of  another  whose  character  he  may  be  delineating.  Blaine  pursued  his  own 
course  in  the  years  1882-1884  ;  he  completed  his  first  volume,  gave  it  to  the 
public,  and  presently  his  name  was  again  ringing  on  the  public  tongue  as  the 
probable  nominee  of  the  Republican  party  for  the  presidency.  Such  was  the 
situation  of  affairs  when  the  presidential  j-ear  came  around.  Other  names  put 
forward  for  the  nomination  were  those  of  John  A.  Logan,  of  Illinois ;  Joseph 
R.  Hawley,  of  Connecticut;  George  F.  Edmunds,  of  Vermont;  Benjamin 
Harrison,  of  Indiana,  and  President  Chester  A.  Arthur. 

The  Republican  National  Convention  met  on  the  third  of  June,  1884, 
in  the  Exposition  Building  at  Chicago.  The  temporary  chairmanship  was 
given  to  John  R.  Lynch,  a  colored  man  of  Mississippi.  The  permanent 
chairmanship  was  assigned  to  Honorable  John  B.  Henderson,  of  Missouri. 
The  platform  of  the  party  was  prepared,  endorsing  the  administration  of 
Arthur,  declaring  against  the  tariff  policy  of  the  Democratic  party  and  in 
favor  of  the  protective  system,  endorsing  civil  service  reform,  denouncing 
Southern  outrages  and  appealing  to  the  people  in  support  of  Republican 
principles.  It  was  noticed  from  the  beginning  of  the  proceedings  that  on 
every  occasion,  or  no  occasion  at  all,  the  name  of  Blaine  or  any  reference  to 
that  statesman  or  his  State,  provoked  the  unbounded  enthusiasm  of  the 

The  duty  of  putting  Blaine  in  nomination  was  assigned  to  the  blind  Judge 
West,  of  Ohio,  whose  speech  on  the  occasion  almost  rivaled  that  of  Ingersoll 
in  the  enthusiasm  which  it  produced.  The  other  candidates  were  also  well 
presented  ;  but  it  was  clear  that  Blaine  was  the  favorite.  The  speech  of  Judge 
West  was  answered  without  and  within  the  hall  with  ringing  and  continuous 
cheers.  When  the  balloting  began,  it  was  evident  that  the  man  from  Maine 
was  the  favorite,  if  not  the  immediate  winner.  The  first  ballot  gave  him  three 
hundred  and  thirty-four  votes ;  Arthur  received  two  hundred  and  seventy-eight ; 
Edmunds,  ninety-three  ;  Logan,  sixty-three;  Sherman,  thirty,  with  the  rest  scat- 
tering. On  the  second  and  third  ballots  there  were  but  slight  changes.  These, 
however,  pointed  to  Blaine.  On  the  fourth  ballot  he  received  five  hundred  and 
forty-four  votes  and  was  nominated.  The  scene  that  ensued  beggared  descrip- 
tion. The  shout  which  announced  the  result  was  taken  up  and  echoed  through 
the  city.  Mr.  Blaine  was  himself  at  his  home  in  Augusta.  He  received  the 
•dispatch  announcing  his  nomination,  while  swinging  in  a  hammock  between 
his  apple  trees.  Immediately  his  house  became  a  public  place,  and  thither 
pilgrims  and  adventurers  set  their  faces  from  all  directions.  Among  the 
touching  incidents  of  the  day  was  the  receipt,  from  Mrs.  Garfield,  of  the  following 
dispatch : — 


148  LIFE   AND   WORK   OF  JAMES   G.   BLAINE. 

"  Cleveland,  Ohio,  June  8,  1884. 

''Mrs.  James  G.  Blaine: — The  household  joins  in  one  great  thanksgiving. 
From  the  quiet  of  onr  home  we  send  the  most  earnest  wish  that,  through  the 
turbulent  months  to  follow  and  in  the  day  of  victory,  you  may  all  be  guarded  and 

"  Lucretia  R.  Garfield." 

The  official  notification  of  his  nomination  was  soon  carried  to  Blaine  at  his 
home,  and  was  delivered  by  Honorable  John  B.  Henderson,  chairman  of  the 
convention.  At  the  conclusion  of  the  address  Mr.  Blaine  responded  as  follows  : — 
"  Mr.  Chairman  and  Gentlemen  of  the  National  Committee  : 

"  I  receive  not  without  deep  sensibility  your  official  notice  of  the  action  of 
the  National  Convention  already  brought  to  my  knowledge  through  the  public 
press.  I  appreciate  more  profoundly  than  I  can  express  the  honor  which  is 
implied  in  a  nomination  for  the  presidency  by  the  Republican  party  of  the 
nation— speaking  through  the  authoritative  voice  of  duly  accredited  delegates. 
To  be  selected  as  a  candidate  by  such  an  assemblage  from  the  list  of  eminent 
statesmen  whose  names  were  presented  fills  me  with  embarrassment.  I  can  only 
express  my  gratitude  for  so  signal  an  honor  and  my  earnest  desire  to  prove 
worth}7  of  the  great  trust  reposed  in  me. 

"  In  accepting  the  nomination,  as  I  now  do,  I  am  impressed,  I  might  almost 
say  oppressed,  with  a  sense  of  the  labor  and  responsibilitv  which  attach  to  im- 
position. The  burden  is  lightened,  however,  by  the  hosts  of  earnest  men  who 
support  my  candidacy,  many  of  whom  add — as  does  your  honorable  committee — 
the  cheer  of  personal  friendship  to  the  pledge  of  political  fealty. 

"  A  more  formal  acceptance  will  naturally  be  expected  and  will  in  due  season 
be  communicated.  It  may,  however,  not  be  inappropriate  at  this  time  to  sav 
that  I  have  already  made  careful  study  of  the  principles  announced  by  the 
National  Convention,  and  that  in  the  whole  and  in  detail  they  have  my  heartiest 
sympathy  and  meet  my  unqualified  approval. 

"  Apart  from  your  official  errand,  gentlemen,  I  am  extremelv  happ}7  to  welcome 
you  all  to  my  home.  With  many  of  you  I  have  already  shared  the  duties  of«the 
public  service  and  have  enjoyed  the  most  cordial  friendship.  I  trust  your  journey 
from  all  parts  of  the  great  Republic  has  been  agreeable,  and  that  during  your 
stay  in  Maine  you  will  feel  that  you  are  not  among  strangers,  but  with  friends. 
Invoking  the  blessing  of  God  upon  the  great  cause  which  we  jointly  represent, 
let  us  turn  to  the  future  without  fear  and  with  manly  hearts." 

It  is  not  our  purpose  in  this  connection  to  enlarge  upon  the  incidents  of 
the  campaign  of  1884.  The  nomination  of  the  Democracy  was  given  to  Grover 
Cleveland,  of  New  York.  The  second  place  on  the  Republican  ticket  was 
assigned  to  John  A.  Logan,  of  Illinois,  and  the  corresponding  position  on  the 
Democratic  ticket  to  Thomas  A.  Hendricks,  of  Indiana.  The  tickets  were 
strong;  but  each  was  assailed  with  great  bitterness  by  the  adherents  of  the 
other.       No    stone    was    left    unturned    to  carry    the  contest  and  at  times,  what 




ought  to  have  been  a  national  debate,  degenerated  into  gross  personalities  and 
personal  scandals.  Such  things  were  hard  enough  to  bear  during  the  months 
of  their  utterance ;  but  if  we  mistake  not,  the  disease  thereby  cured  itself  in  the 
public  life  of  the  United  States.  The  cure  was  not  effected  on  moral  grounds, 
but  rather  for  political  reasons.  It  was  found  that  the  good  sense  of  the  Amer- 
ican people  would  no  longer  approve  or  even  tolerate  the  mendacity  and 
inconsequential  slander  which  the  party  press  of  each  side  poured  upon  the 
candidate  of  the  other.  The  nation  was  disgraced  in  the  melee — and  for  no 
good.  The  filthy  work  was  wholly  ineffectual.  It  did  not  diminish  the  vote  of 
either  candidate  to  augment  the  vote  of  the  other. 

The  canvass  went  on  in  obedience  to  its  own  laws.  The  battle  was  hotly 
fought  along  the  whole  line.  Mr.  Blaine  took  the  field  abroad  and  traversed 
several  of  the  doubtful  States.  He  spoke  at  many  points  in  Indiana  and  New 
York,  and  concluded  his  canvass  in  the  metropolis.      This  was  the  realty    fatal 

circumstance  in  his  career.  It  cannot  be  doubted 
that  if  he  had  stayed  away  from  the  city  and  thus 
avoided  the  incidents  of  his  visit  there,  he  would 
have  been  elected  to  the  presidency.  Upon  so  slight 
circumstances  do  the  destinies  of  the  most  distin- 
guished leaders  of  society  sometimes  turn. 

Just  at  the  close  of  the  contest,  Mr.  Blaine 
was  received  by  his  party  in  New  York  City  and 
was  there  entertained  at  a  banquet.  During  his  stay 
in  the  city  there  were  delegations  and  speeches 
galore.  Along  with  the  rest  a  certain  address  was 
delivered  to  him  or  rather  at  him  (for  the  sequel 
showed  that  he  did  not  hear  it),  which  proved  the 
bane  of  the  battle  and  indeed  of  his  whole  political 
life.  A  certain  Reverend  Burchard,  availing  himself 
of  the  occasion,  poured  out  a  fusillade  of  nonsense 
and  impropriety,  in  the  course  of  which  he  char- 
acterized the  Democratic  party  as  being  the  party  of  "  Rum,  Romanism  and 
Rebellion."  The  Rum  and  the  Rebellion  might  have  been  borne,  but  the 
Romanism  was  not  to  be  tolerated.  New  York  is  strongly  a  Catholic  city. 
Catholicism  has  its  hold  in  the  tremendous  Irish  and  other  foreign  populations  of 
the  great  emporium.  Mr.  Blaine  had  himself  always  been  a  friend  and  champion 
of  Ireland,  and  quite  a  percentage  of  the  Irish  vote  had  been  in  preparation 
for  his  benefit.  Had  he  received  his  due  proportion  of  ballots  from  this  source 
he  would  have  carried  New  York  and  with  it  the  presidency.  But  the  Bur- 
chard business  was  a  bomb  at  the  door  of  every  Catholic  church.  Every  bomb 
was  diligently  exploded.  If  the  Democratic  party  is  the  party  of  Romanism, 
then  that  party  is  our  party !  So  ran  the  hot  logic  of  the  hour.  Vainly  did 
Blaine  and  his  friends  disclaim  the  impolitic  and  absurd  alliteration  of  Burchard. 

JOHN   A.    LOGAN. 



,,     I,  , t y.i 


The  thing  stuck  like  pitch  and  burnt  wherever  it  fell.  The  result  was  the 
decrease  of  the  Republican  vote  in  New  York  City  and  the  increase  of  the 
Democratic  vote.  The  change  turned  the  ballot,  and  the  State  of  New  York 
was  carried  by  the  Democracy  by  the  trifling  majority  of  one  thousand  and 
forty-seven  votes.  As  New  York  went  so  went  the  Union.  Cleveland  was 
elected  to  the  presidency  and  the  prospect  of  Blaine  to  reach  the  White  House 
was  forever  blasted.  The  incident  of  the  Burchard  speech  was,  perhaps,  the 
most  insignificant  and  withal  absurd  of  any  that  ever  turned  the  destinies  of 
great  men  and  great  events  awry. 

It  could  but  be  that  his  defeat  for  the  presidential  office  was  a  severe  blow 
to  Blaine.  He  was  again  driven 
back  upon  those  resources  which 
were  inherent  in  himself.  He 
had  now  been  for  more  than 
twenty  years  a  resident  of  Wash- 
ington City.  He  had,  of  course, 
never  given  up  his  old  home  in 
Augusta.  A  part  of  the  year  he 
was  wont  to  reside  at  the  latter 
place,  and  the  greater  part  at  the 
Capital.  The  summer  invited  him 
to  the  quiet  of  his  Maine  resi- 
dence ;  while  the  excitement  and 
interest  of  Washington  City  could 
hardly  be  put  aside  for  the  winter. 

In  the  interval  which  followed 
his  defeat  for  the  presidency,  he 
resumed  his  work  on  his  his- 
tory of  Congress.  The  remark- 
able thing  about  the  career  of 
Blaine  has  been  the  spontaneous 
revival  of  public  interest  in  him, 
notwithstanding  his  defeats.  The 
analogy  of  his  life  in  this  respect  with  that  of  Clay  is  again  conspicuous.  The 
interest  of  the  people  followed  both  of  these  statesmen  persistently  through  every 
phase  of  their  lives,  from  the  time  at  which  they  entered  upon  their  public 
career  to  the  close. 

We  might  also  say  that  the  loss  of  the  presidency  to  the  distinguished 
aspirant  was  compensated  by  the  work  which  he  was  able  to  accomplish  in  the  second 
volume  of  his  history  of  Congress.  That  work  was  duly  completed. 
The  manner  and  temper  of  the  author  were  shown  in  the  same  favorable  light 
as  in  the  first  volume,  and  his  reputation  was  correspondingly  enhanced.  Here 
was  a  man  who,  in  spite    of  the  storm    and    battle    of    public    life,  could    treat 

BLAINE   IN    1884. 

152  LIFE   AND   WORK   OF  JAMES   G.    BLAINE. 

dispassionately  the  very  subjects  in  the  shaping  of  which  he  had  had  a  hand 
by  both  conquest  and  defeat.  The  history  which  he  produced  of  the  public  life 
of  the  nation,  from  the  accession  of  Lincoln  to  the  accession  of  Garfield,  was  at 
once  complete  and  impartial.  As  the  old  philosopher  said  of  the  eccentric  but 
accomplished  Goldsmith,  Blaine  touched  almost  every  kind  of  subject  and 
"  touched  nothing  which  he  did  not  adorn."  Meanwhile  his  interest  in  public 
affairs  continued  as  before. 

It  is  said  that  on  a  single  occasion  General  Grant  weakened.  The  world 
knows  that  his  policy  was  that  of  silence.  He  lived  through  evil  report  and 
good,  and  said  nothing.  General  Sherman  once  and  again  took  up  his  leader's 
cause  in  the  public  press,  adding  that  "  Grant,  as  usual,  would  say  nothing." 
But  in  one  instance  the  common  humanity  asserted  itself.  When  he  was 
going  out  to  the  porch  of  the  Capitol  for  his  second  inauguration,  backed  by 
the  tremendous  majority  which  had  again  given  him  the  presidency,  and  feeling 
secure  in  the  enduring  confidence  of  his  countrymen,  the  General  said,  referring 
to  his  address  which  he  had  in  hand,  "  here  is  my  answer  to  their  slanders." 
After  his  defeat  for  the  presidency  Blaine,  in  one  instance,  seems  to  have  given 
away  to  the  rush  of  feeling  and  resentment  which  he  naturally  enough  enter- 
tained. Soon  after  the  result  of  the  election  was  known,  he  made  a  speech 
at  home  in  Augusta,  in  which  he  furiously  assailed  the  Democratic  party  in 
both  its  methods  and  principles.  He  charged  that  party  with  having  carried 
the  election  by  the  deliberate  suppression  of  the  Republican  vote  in  the  South- 
ern States.  With  his  usual  cogency  he  brought  forth  the  statistics  of  the 
election,  and  proved  with  cold  figures  that  the  electors  in  the  Southern  States 
had  received  on  the  average  only  about  one-half  or  one-third  as  many  ballots 
as  had  been  cast  for  the  presidential  electors  chosen  from  the  Northern 

This  led  to  the  inevitable  deduction  that  the  election  had  been  unfair  and 
prejudiced  against  the  Republican  party  and  its  candidate.  The  speech  was 
strong  and  somewhat  embittered.  It  produced  a  marked  impression  on  the 
public  mind,  and  was  read  and  commented  upon  throughout  the  length  and 
breadth  of  the  land.  As  a  matter  of  fact,  there  could  be  but  one  adequate 
answer  to  his  arraignment  of  the  policy  and  system  of  the  Democratic  party  ; 
that  is,  but  one  answer  that  might  tend  to  show  the  equity  of  President  Cleve- 
land's election,  and  that  was  that  the  latter  had  received  a  clear  and  unequi- 
vocal popular  majority  over  his  competitor. 

In  the  year  1886  we  find  Mr.  Blaine  again  actively  in  the  political  field. 
The  election  of  that  year  was  important.  It  seemed  evident  that  if  the  Demo- 
cratic success  of  the  presidential  year  should  be  followed  up  by  great  majorities 
in  the  congressional  year,  the  Republican  party  would  be  virtually  extinguished. 
It  was,  therefore,  necessary  that  the  latter  party  should  make  a  strong  rally  in 
1886,  and  reassert  itself  in  the  election  of  an  increased  number  of  Congressmen. 
Blaine  was  always  proud  of   his  own  State,  and  made  it  a  point  of   honor  that 

LIFE   AND   WORK   OF  JAMES   G.    BLAINE.  153 

Maine  should,  on  every  occasion,  hold  her  place  steadily  in  the  Republican 
column  and,  when  necessary,  swell  her  majorities  to  the  highest  figure. 

On  the  twenty-fourth  of  August,  1SS6,  Blaine  opened  the  campaign  of  that 
year  in  an  able  speech  which  he  delivered  at  Sebago  Lake.  He  took  up  the 
question  of  the  fisheries,  in  which  New  England  had  the  greatest  intei'est ;  also 
the  tariff  question,  and  finally  the  third  part}-  movement,  which  then  portended 
considerable  inroads  in  the  Republican  ranks.  The  Prohibitionists  had  become 
active,  particularly  in  the  so-called  "  off-years,"  and  there  were  grounds  for 
fearing  that  the  Republican  vote  in  Maine  would  suffer  on  this  account.  Blaine's 
speech  attacked  and  criticised  the  administration  on .  its  attitude  towards  the 
fishing  interest  of  the  country,  and  presented  in  full  force  the  argument  for 
protection  as  against  free  trade. 

It  might  be  noticed,  however,  even  at  this  early  day,  that  Blaine's  views 
were  not  so  extreme  on  the  question  of  the  tariff  as  were  those  of  the  men 
who  had  assumed  the  duty  of  speaking  for  the  Republican  party.  From  this 
time  forth,  the  attitude  of  Blaine  on  this  great  question  became  more  and  more 
moderate  until,  in  the  heyday  of  McKinleyism,  he  sent  forth  his  public  letters, 
which  had  the  effect  to  arrest  the  headlong  course  of  the  extremists  and  to 
introduce  the  term  and  the  fact  of  reciprocitv  into  the  phraseology  and  policy 
of  his  party.  He  continued  to  speak  successfully  during  the  campaign  of  1886 
and  had  the  pleasure  of  seeing  his  work  crowned  with  a  fair  measure  of  success. 
What  appeared  to  be  the  disintegration  of  his  party  was  arrested,  and  the 
Republican  forces  were  brought  into  shape  for  the  presidential  campaign 
of  1888. 

Would  Blaine  again  be  a  candidate  for  the  nomination  of  his  party  ?  That 
appeared  doubtful.  Public  interest  in  regard  to  his  action  was  universal.  It 
was  foreseen  that  President  Cleveland  would  receive  the  Democratic  nomination 
for  re-election;  but  would  his  old  competitor  stand  against  him,  or  would  some 
other  be  taken  as  possibly  more  available  ?  For  man}'  months  the  question 
remained  in  doubt.  Conjectures  were  published  for  facts,  and  deductions  given 
out  as  statements  that  had  no  other  foundation  than  the  cogitations  of  those 
who  produced  them.  Mr.  Blaine,  at  this  time,  namely,  in  1S87,  was  traveling 
abroad.  The  presidential  year  came  on  apace  and  it  was  necessary  that  the 
Republican  management  should  know  the  purpose  of  Blaine  before  proceeding 
with  the  arrangements  for  the  ensuing  campaign.  It  was  already  conceded  that 
if  Blaine  desired  a  renomination  he  could  have  it.  Here,  indeed,  was  a  spectacle. 
Three  times  the  name  of  this  statesman  had  been  before  the  conventions  of  his 
party.  Once  he  had  received  the  nomination,  only  to  be  defeated  at  the  polls. 
Still  the  spell  of  his  name  was  so  great  that  it  was  admitted,  at  the  beginning 
of  1888,  even  bjr  those  who  were  most  reluctant  to  admit  it,  that  if  Blaine  wanted 
the  nomination  at  the  next  convention  he  had  only  to  lift  his  hand.  It  must 
be  granted  that  the  political  fealty  of  the  majority  of  a  party  to  one  of  its 
leaders  had  never  gone  further  than  this — and  cannot. 


When  the  crisis  came  Mr.  Blaine  was  at  Florence,  Italy.  He  finally  made 
np  his  mind  not  to  permit  the  use  of  his  name  in  candidature  for  the  presidency. 
He  accordingly,  at  what  seemed  to  be  the  desire  of  his  party,  wrote  what  was 
known  as  the  "  Florence  Letter,"  which  was  one  of  the  sensations  of  the  day. 
Even  in  spite  of  this,  so  intense  was  the  part)7  spirit  with  which  he  was 
supported,  not  a  few  of  his  admirers  kept  his  name  flying  as  their  favorite  at 
the  approaching  Chicago  convention.  Bnt  the  statesman  held  on  his  course. 
Completing  his  Italian  tour,  he  went  to  Scotland  and  was  doing  the  North 
country  when  the  National  Convention  was  held  in  Chicago. 

The  reader  knows  the  result.  Blaine's  name  was  not  presented  to  the 
convention ;  but  his  influence  surcharged  the  air  and  it  was  a  possible  thing 
that  at  any  moment  a  spontaneous  Blaine  uproar  might  break  out  in  the 
convention  hall  and  sweep  everything  before  it.  The  condition  of  affairs  was 
such  as  might  well  provoke  the  other  candidates  whose  names  were  given  to 
the  convention,  and  confound  all  political  calculations. 

We    need  not  here  narrate    the    story  of  the    Chicago    convention  of   1SS8. 
John  Sherman,  of  Ohio,  was'  a  prominent  candidate,  and    had    the    endorsement 
of  his  great  State.     Judge   Walter   Q.  Gresham,  of  Illinois,  was  also  prominent 
before  the  body.     Governor   Alger,  of  Michigan,  Senator  Allison,  of  Iowa,  andl 
ex-Senator  Benjamin    Harrison,  of   Indiana,  were  the  other  leading  competitors. 
The  choice,  after  much  balloting  and  contention,  fell  to  the  last  named,  and  hel 
was  successful    in    the  contest  against    President   Cleveland.      Blaine  had  mean-f 
while  returned  to  the  United    States,  given    his  endorsement  to  the  nomination | 
of  Harrison,  and  contributed  powerfully  to  his    success    by  urging    his  personal! 
adherents  everywhere  to  the  cordial  support  of  the  ticket. 

The  reasons  of   Blaine's    declining  to    be    a    candidate    for   renomination  in 
1888  have  been  diligently  sought  by  politicians  and    the  newspaper  press,  both] 
backed  by  universal  curiosity.     If  we  mistake    not,  the  great  prevailing  reason 
was  the  condition  of  the  statesman's  health.     Blaine's  health  had  clearly  become  • 
precarious.      His  high  nervous  organization  and   intense  application  to  business 
and  ambition  for  so   many    years    had    made    inroads    into    an    otherwise    sound 
constitution,  and  had  laid  the  seeds  of  premature  old  age.     It  was  already  clear,! 
before  he  had  reached  his  fifty-fifth  year,  that  he  was  not  destined  to  long  life.) 
There  has  seemed  to  be  a  misapprehension  in  the  public  mind  on  this  subject. 
Blaine    really  broke  early.      He  did  so  under   pressure  of  mental  and    physicali 
conditions  against  which  the    stoutest    spirit    could    hardly  prevail.      If   he  hadfl 
been  a  phlegmatic  man  he  would  probably  have  lived  much  longer ;  but  he  was  i 
anything  rather  than  phlegmatic.      He  was  keenly  alive  in  every  part,  and  for 
this  reason  his  bodily  powers  were  the  sooner  exhausted. 

Besides    this    fundamental    reason    of    impaired    health    and    dread    of    then 
inevitable    strain    to  which    he  would    be    subjected    should    he    be    again    the  \i 
standard-bearer  of  his    part)7,   there  were    other    considerations  which    held    hirnj 
back.     If  we  mistake  not,  Blaine  did  not  expect,  beforehand,  the  success  of  the' 



Republican  presidential  ticket  in  1888.  He,  like  many  others,  came  to  expect 
success  with  the  progress  of  the  campaign.  It  was  a  striking  illustration  of  the 
vicissitudes  of  public  opinion  in  the  United  States,  when  the  sentiment  of  the 
people  gradually,  during  the  summer  months,  went  over  to  Harrison.  That 
statesman  was  the  beneficiary  of  great  good  fortune.  It  might  almost  be  said 
that  he  reaped  where  he  had  not  sown,  and  gathered  where  he  had  not  strewn. 
Circumstances  brought  him  to  the  presidency.  The  protected  industries  of  the 
country  must  have  it  so.  Ac- 
cordingly it  was  so.  The  seem- 
ingly invincible  Cleveland  went 
back  in  defeat,  and  was  in  his 
turn  forced  to  abide  his  time. 

One  of  the  inevitable  conse- 
quences, or,  at  least,  certain  de- 
ductions, of  the  election  of 
Harrison  was  the  appointment  of 
Blaine  as  Secretary  of  State. 
His  former  career  in  that  office 
had  been  cut  short  by  Guiteau's 
bullet ;  now  he  must  serve  out 
his  term  and  verify  his  policies 
by  the  international  test.  We  do 
not  intend,  in  this  connection,  to 
recite  his  work  as  Secretary  of 
State,  aiming  only  in  the  present 
chapter  to  narrate  so  much  as 
relates  to  Blaine's  contests  for 
the  presidency.  He  remained  in 
the  State  Department  until  near 
the  close  of  the  Harrison  admin- 
istration. More  properly,  he  held 
the  place  until  it  became  evident 
to  everybody  that  his  friends, 
whether  he  will  or  nill,  would 
present  his  name  to  the  Republican  National  Convention  of  1892. 

True,  he  had  declined  such  use  of  his  name.  He  never  encouraged  or 
promoted  the  project  of  having  himself  again  brought  into  the  arena.  It  is 
clear  in  the  retrospect  that  his  enfeebled  health  forbade  it.  But  his  following 
would  have  it  so.  Blaine  was  virtually  driven  out  of  the  cabinet.  What  should 
he  do?  Should  he  remain  there  and  be  a  target  for  animadversions  and  the 
subject  of  endless  bickerings  ?  Certainly  it  was  not  pleasant  for  him  to  go  out. 
To  do  so  was  finally  to  terminate  his  political  career.  No  man  likes  to  give 
himself  the  quietus.     In  the  Orient  the  taking  of  one's  own  life  is  looked  upon 

156  LIFE   AND   WORK   OF  JAMES   G.    BLAINE. 

as  a  commendable  thing  by  the  public,  and  even  the  taker  comes,  under  dis- 
cipline and  ethnic  instinct,  to  regard  it  as  reputable  and  famous.  But  the 
Occident  does  not  have  it  so.  Here  the  man  must  live  as  long  and  as  famously 
as  he  can.  Sad  is  the  last  eclipse  !  Let  it  come  as  it  may,  the  over-spreading 
darkness  is  disagreeable,  and  most  disagreeable  to  the  highest  and  most 
capacious  minds. 

It  was  already  the  eve  of  the  Republican  National  Convention  at  Minne- 
apolis when  Blaine  retired  from  the  Harrison  cabinet.  It  was  too  late !  All 
tilings  were  now  prevalent  against  him.  His  fame  flared  up  fitfully  at  the 
convention  and  then  went  out.  The  officeholders  were  now  in  league  against 
him.  They  saw  in  him  the  setting  sun.  Of  all  officeholders  it  ma}'  be  most 
truthfully  said,  as  was  aforetime  said  of  our  race  in  general,  orientem  solem 
colunt ;  they  worship  the  rising  sun — and  with  good  reasons  !  The  ox  knoweth 
his  master's   crib ! 

It  were  hard  to  say  whether  this  last  fitful  and  unsuccessful  presentation  of 
the  name  of  Blaine  to  the  National  Convention  of  his  party  were  not  an  error. 
Blaine  could  not  have  borne  the  stress  of  another  presidential  contest.  Chaos 
would  perhaps  have  come  again  as  the  result  of  his  nomination.  True,  his 
policy  of  reciprocity  gave  to  the  platform  of  his  party,  in  the  year  1892,  its 
only  element  of  strength.  It  is  also  true,  if  we  mistake  not,  that  the  presen- 
tation of  his  name  as  the  candidate  of  that  party  would  have  evoked  a  popular 
enthusiasm,  the  absence  of  which  was  the  one  noticeable  fact  in  the  contest 
for  the  re-election  of  Harrison.  But  all  this  is  in  the  nature  of  conjecture. 
We  see  clearly  only  the  fact  that  Blaine  was  constrained  to  retire  from  his 
cabinet  place  in  the  administration  of  which  he  had  been  the  mainstay  and  element 
of  fame,  and  that  he  was,  without  good  reason,  forced  rather  ingloriously  into 
the  Minneapolis  convention,  only  to  be  beaten  and  to  witness  the  extinction 
of  the  now  flickering  political  torch  which  he  had  so  long  and  gloriously  held 

Such  was  the  hard  discipline  and  fate  of  his  last  days.  It  could  not  be  said 
that  after  this  final  overthrow  he  went  into  obscurity  ;  for  that  could  not  be 
true  of  such  a  character.  Not  even  the  grave  can  obscure  the  light  of  some 
men's  lives.  Their  principles  and  actions  are  of  a  kind  to  survive,  for  a  while, 
the  end  of  life  and  to  shine  with  the  glow  of  warmth  and  radiance,  at  least 
for  a  brief  season,  in  the  pages  of  their  country's  history. 



E  shall  attempt  in  this  chapter  to  say  something 
about  the  life  of  Blaine  in  the  Senate  and  the 
cabinet.  He  entered  the  former  body  in  the 
summer  of  1876.  It  was  the  last  year  of  General 
Grant  in  the  presidency.  The  Centennial  Ex- 
position at  Philadelphia  was  in  full  blast.  The 
scars  of  the  Civil  War  were  beginning  to  dis- 
appear from  the  features  and  heart  of  the  nation. 
Political  life  was  in  some  sense  as  turbulent  as 
ever.  But  from  this  time  forth  partisans  and 
parties  were  obliged  to  make,  rather  than  find,  the 
issues  about  which  they  were  contending. 

One  thing  we  may  note  clearly  and  that  is,  the 
appearance  at  this  period  of  those  great  industrial  and 
economic  questions  which  constitute  the  vital  part  in 
the  political  divisions  of  our  time.  We  are  here  within 
one  year  of  the  great  railroad  strike  by  which  the  overland  commerce  of  the 
United  States  was,  for  a  while,  prostrated  as  the  result  of  cupidity  and  tyrann}' 
on  the  one  side,  and  the  irrational  half-lawlessness  of  the  wronged  laborers  on 
the  other. 

We  may  remark  upon  the  changed  atmosphere  as  one  passes  from  the 
House  of  Representatives  to  the  Senate  of  the  United  States.  The  latter  is 
pre-eminently  a  grave  and  decorous  body  of  representatives.  It  is  almost  feudal 
in  its  dignity.  The  members  are  few  in  number.  They  represent  great  com- 
monwealths in  their  organized  capacity.  They  stand  for  States,  and  are  thus 
removed  by  a  little  from  the  democracy  of  the  people  proper.  The  body  is  as 
deliberate  as  it  is  deliberative.  It  is  to  the  good  name  of  the  American  people 
that  there  is  little  unseemly  or  really  factious  in  the  Senate  of  the  Republic. 
Webster  said  of  it  proudly,  "  This  is  a  Senate  of  equals." 

No  part  of  this  description  can  well  apply  to  the  House  of  Representatives. 
That  body  has  been  called,  not  without  wit,  the  Cave  of  the  Winds.  Certainly 
the  observer  might  sometimes  think  that  ^Eolus  had  really,  in  the  Virgilian 
fashion,  struck  the  mountain  with  the  butt  of  his  spear.  It  was  a  conceit  of 
Don  Piatt  that  first  discovered  this  analogy  of  the  House  to  the  ^Eolian  cavern. 
The  House  roars.  It  excites  itself  to  an  unusual  degree.  It  is  capable  of  all 
emotions  and  passions.  It  is  capable  of  eccentricity  and  of  such  foolishness  as 
might  be  expected  only  on  the  ball  ground  of  a  country  school. 



This  is  not  to  say  that  the  House  does  not  possess  great  abilities ;  for  the 
greatest  are  seen  in  that  arena.  But  it  is  a  stormy  place.  The  waters  rush 
in  and  rush  out.  There  are  whirls  of  quicksand  here  and  there,  in  which  the 
unwary  are  suddenly  swallowed.  When  that  happens  there  is  a  laugh.  The 
inscription,  "  No.  Mercy  Here,"  might  well  be  put  up  over  the  door.  The  cloak 
rooms  are  full  of  smoke  and  counterplot.  A  struggle  is  always  on.  A  vast 
constituency  seems  always  to  be  peering  over  the  railing,  or  looking  down 
from  the  gallery. 

It  was  in  this  school  of  turmoil,  hazard  and  vicissitude  that  Blaine  was 
educated  for  statesmanship.  There  he  became  adroit,  prudent,  shrewd.  If  any 
one  was  ever  to  be  caught  napping,  it  was  not  the  Representative  from  the 
Augusta  district  of  Maine. 

Now,  at  length,  after  nearly  fourteen  years  of  service,  that  Representative 
retires  from  the  arena  where  he  had  won  his  laurels  and  enters  upon  a  five 
years'  term  of  service  in  the  cooler  and  quieter  chamber  of  the  Senate.  They 
who  entered  the  latter  body  come  either  with  or  without  preparation.  The  last 
years  have  seen  a  number  in  the  category  of  the  wholly  unprepared.  If  history 
should  take  the  Vice-President's  chair  and  call  the  senatorial  roll  in  these  days, 
when  men,  in  the  green  stage  of  millionism,  grow  suddenly  great  and  obtrude 
themselves  where  they  have  no  business,  not  a  few  would  be  obliged  to  answer, 
"  Unprepared,  madame  !  " 

For  the  rest,  the  preparation  varies  much  according  to  circumstances. 
Webster  was  prepared  in  one  way,  Clay  and  Benton  in  another ;  Sumner  came 
with  one  kind  of  discipline,  Morton  with  another,  and  Logan  with  another. 
Blaine  came,  with  a  preparation  peculiarly  his  own.  It  might  be  difficult,  in 
the  now  lengthening  list  of  Senators,  to  find  oue  who,  on  the  whole,  was  more 
thoroughly  equipped  for  the  senatorial  office  than  was  the  man  from  Maine. 
He  had  a  large  measure  of  scholarship  to  begin  with.  He  had  great  capabili- 
ties as  a  public  speaker.  He  had  vast  knowledge  of  affairs,  both  national  and 
international.  He  knew  the  political  history  of  his  country  by  heart.  He  was 
a  learned  and  experienced  parliamentarian.  It  may  be  said  that  he  had  too 
much  wit  and  vivacity  for  a  Senator;  but  this  shocking  superabundance  of 
intellect  and  humor  was  compensated  by  the  cooling  effects  of  more  than  twenty 
years  of  public  life.  There  was  no  antecedent  reason  why  Senator  Blaine,  from 
the  first  day  of  his  appearance  in  the  upper  chamber,  should  not  be,  as  Inger- 
soll  had  then  but    recently  declared    him  to  be  already,  "  A  leader  of   leaders." 

The  event  proved  to  be  so.  It  may  be  agreed  that  Blaine  did  not  become 
so  pre-eminent  relatively  in  the  Senate  as  he  had  been  in  the  House.  Senators 
are  not  disposed  to  brook  that  kind  of  ascendancy  which  their  colleague  from 
Maine  had  long  enjoyed  among  the  Representatives.  Nevertheless,  he  was 
pre-eminent  in  the  Senate  as  he  must  needs  be  everywhere.  If  we  are  to  estimate 
his  influence  in  the  country  at  large,  that  was  not  augmented  by  his  transference 
to  the  Upper  House.     This  is  not  to  say  that  his  influence  was    not  increased 

160  LIFE   AND   WORK   OF  JAMES   G.    BLAINE. 

and  extended ;  bnt  the  same  was  dne  to  other  considerations,  such  as  a  growing- 
belief  in  his  abilities  as  a  statesman  and  in  the  improvement  of  his  public 
character,  by  the  lengthening  and  deepening  discipline  of  his  life. 

Blaine  went  into  the  Senate  in  the  midst  of  the  presidential  canvass  of 
1876.  The  reader  knows  the  result  of  that  contest  and  the  story  of  the  Elec- 
toral Commission.  The  contest  relative  to  the  same  came  on  in  the  first  months 
of  Blaine's  service.  Leadership  for  and  against  the  measure  was  mostly  left  to 
others.  Blaine  has,  himself,  in  his  history  of  Congress,  summed  up  the  result 
of  the  battle  for  the  presidency.  In  that  work  he  shows  from  the  evidence  that 
the  agents  of  the  Democratic  party  in  the  contested  States  of  Florida,  South 
Carolina  and  Oregon  had  made  an  illegal  effort  to  alter  the  returns,  so  as  to 
make  it  appear  that  Tildeu,  and  not  Hayes,  had  carried  the  States.  He  also 
deduces  as  a  conclusion  that  bribery  on  a  prodigious  scale  had  been  attempted 
by  these  agents.  But  he  exculpates  Mr.  Tilden  himself  from  the  responsibility 
of  an  attempted  crime.  The  author  also  enforces,  with  a  vehemence  from  which 
sarcasm  is  not  wholly  wanting,  the  allegation  that  the  party  which  had 
flourished  under  the  name  of  "  reform  "  had  thus  shown  itself  most  capable  of 
dishonesty  and    corruption. 

One  of  the  first  questions  of  great  interest  which  Mr.  Blaine  had  to  face— 
a  question  of  vast  and  international  importance — was  that  of  the  remonetization 
of  silver.  This  question  was  the  great  issue  before  the  Forty-fifth  Congress 
It  might  be  well  in  this  connection  to  review  once  more  the  subject  from  the 
standpoint  of  history  and  truth.  The  controversy  has  been  so  long  continued 
and  so  hotly  waged,  that  the  people  of  the  United  States  are  not  as  yet,  and  may 
not  be  for  a  score  of  years,  prepared  to  hear  the  truth  as  it  ought  to  be  told 
respecting  the  demonetization  and  the  remonetization  of  silver. 

At  the  date  of  the  publication  of  this  volume,  the  battle  still  goes  on 
Remonetization  has  never  been  completely  effected.  It  seems  to  be  doubtful 
whether  it  will  be  or  can  be  on  terms  of  equity  and  justice.  In  other  countries 
and  under  other  conditions,  the  creditor  and  fund-holding  classes  have  always 
carried  the  day  against  the  debtor  and  industrial  classes.  The  former  are  few 
the  latter  are  many. 

The  simple  facts  in  the  present  case  are  these  :  The  bonded  debt  of  the 
United  States  was  originally  purchased  with  a  paper  currency.  That  papeii 
currency  was  at  the  time  largely  depreciated — as  compared  with  the  price  of 
coin.  It  became  easy  to  see  how  vast  a  gain  would  accrue  to  the  holders  of 
the  national  debt,  and  indeed  to  all  the  creditor  classes  of  the  country,  if,  in  tk 
matter  of  payment,  the  coin  dollar  could  be  substituted  for  the  paper  dollar  i: 
which  the  purchase  had  been  made. 

So  inexperienced  were  the  people  of  the    United    States    in   transactions 
this  kind  that  nobody — or  but  very  few — took  the  alarm.      Under  the    specio 
phrase  of  resuming  specie  payments,  and  under  the  argument  and  protestation  o: 
national  honesty,  the  act  for  the  resumption  of  specie  payments  was  passed.    The: 


it  was  that  bond-holding  and  all  credit-holding  became  enormously  profitable. 
The  value  of  the  dollar  in  which  all  credit  was  expressed,  gradually,  day  by  day, 
and  night  by  night,  week  and  month  and  year  together,  grew;  so  that  any 
nominal  payments  that  were  made  on  the  principal  of  debts,  public  and  private, 
were  constantly  counterbalanced  by  the  increasing  value  of  the  unit  in  which  all 
debt  was  expressed. 

At  last,  in  the  beginning  of  1879,  the  dollar  of  coin  and  the  dollar  of  paper 
came  to  a  common  value.  This  was  effected  by  a  series  of  legislative  acts, 
which  we  need  not  here  enumerate.  Suffice  it  to  say  that  the  resumption  of 
specie  payments,  after  four  years'  notice,  was  effected  on  the  first  day  of  January, 

It  would  seem  that  this  ought  to  have  satisfied  the  holders  of  the  public 
debt,  and  indeed  all  creditors,  whatsoever.  But  it  did  not.  As  soon  as  it  was 
seen  that  ultimately  specie  payment  would  be  effected  in  coin,  then  began  the 
tinkering  with  the  coin  !  Now,  since  we  have  got  our  coin  in  payment  for  a 
debt  that  was  contracted  in  paper,  the  next  best  thing  is  to  have  that  coin 
worth  more  than  it  was  when  the  debt  was  contracted,  or,  indeed,  more  than  it 
ever  was. 

The  coin  of  the  United  States  consists  of  two  parts,  a  silver  part  and  a 
gold  part.  It  has  been  so  from  the  foundation  of  the  Government.  We  have 
always  had  the  system  of  bi-metallism,  which  is  simply  a  concession  to  the 
debtor  that  he  shall  enjoy  the  valuable  option  of  paying  freely  in  the  cheaper 
of  two  metals — or  the  more  convenient,  as  the  case  may  be.  Now,  if  this 
option  could  adroitly  be  taken  away,  how  great  would  be  the  gain  to  all  those 
who  are  to  be  paid  dollars  !  He  who  is  to  be  paid  a  dollar  wants  a  great 
dollar ;  not  a  small  dollar ;  not  even  a  dollar  of  the  contract,  but  as  great  a 
dollar  as  possible. 

Under  the  casuistical  reckonings,  the  American  silver  dollar  was  struck 
from  the  mints.  Homer  begins  the  Iliad  by  apostrophizing  the  muse  to  sing 
to  him  the  direful  cause  of  the  woes  of  Greece.  Here  we  have  it !  It  was 
the  adroit  and  nefarious  scheme  by  which  one-half  of  the  coin  potency  of  the 
people  of  the  United  States  was  struck  away,  even  when  they  didn't  know  it  [ 
At  length,  however,  they  did  know  it,  and  then  came  an  upheaval  that  swept 
all  before  it.  The  proposition  to  remonetize  silver  at  the  old  latio  with  gold 
brought  out  long-continued  and  stormy  debates.  The  advantage  in  the 
argument  was  wholly  with  those  who  advocated  the  free  coinage  of  the  silver 
dollar.  This,  however,  was  against  the  interest  of  the  fund-holding  classes. 
In  politics  it  has  always  been  dangerous  to  antagonize  such  classes,  as  in  a 
free  country  it  is  also  ultimately  dangerous  to  antagonize  the  industrial  and 
producing  classes. 

Blaine  in  the  Senate  found  himself  beaten  between  these  two  forces. 
Embarrassed  by  the  situation,  he  sought  a  middle  ground — some  ground  that 
would  be  fairly  tolerable    to    the  sentiments  of  both  parties  in  the  controversy. 

162  LIFE   AND   WORK   OF  JAMES   G.   BLAINE. 

He  delivered  a  speech  in  the  Senate  on  the  thesis  "  That  gold  and  silver  are 
the  money  of  the  Constitution,  the  money  in  existence  when  the  Constitution 
was  formed,  and  Congress  has  the  right  to  regulate  their  relations."  It  is 
easy  for  the  reader  to  see  the  stress  of  the  situation,  which  would  demand 
this  kind  of  inconsequential  argument  from  a  statesman  of  Blaine's  capacity. 
In  his  speech  he  advocated  the  coinage  of  "  such  a  silver  dollar  as  will  not 
only  do  justice  among  our  citizens  at  home,  but  prove  an  absolute  barricade 
against  the  gold  mono-metallists."  He  took  the  ground  also  that  the  standard 
silver  dollar  of  three  hundred  and  seventy-one  and  one-fourth  grains  of  pure 
silver  would  not  make  such  a  dollar  as  would  prove  a  barricade  against  the 
advocates  of  a  gold  standard  only.  In  a  word,  the  argument  of  Blaine  was — 
and  the  same  may  be  noted  with  peculiar  interest,  after  the  lapse  of  fifteen 
3'ears — that  a  new  silver  dollar  of  greater  value  than  the  old  one  should  be 
substituted  therefor.  This,  of  course,  would  imply  that  the  silver  standard 
should  be  altered  and  adjusted  to  the  gold  standard,  and  this  is  not 
bi-metallism  at  all,  but  mono-metallism.  Nevertheless,  the  position  taken  by 
Blaine  in  the  debates  on  the  silver  question  was  as  prudent  and  politic  as 
might  well  have  been  discovered  under  the  circumstances. 

On  nearly  all  of  the  questions  before  the  Senate,  during  the  after  half  of 
the  eighth  decade,  Blaine  had  something  to  say  in  a  measure  of  deter- 
minative influence.  As  he  became  experienced,  certain  subjects  of  the  vastest 
interest  absorbed  his  attention  and  became  the  subject-matter  of  his  subsequent 
policy.  Of  those  subjects,  one  of  the  most  important  was  that  of  the 
restoration  of  the  commerce  of  the  United  States.  Time  had  been,  as  late  as 
the  middle  of  the  sixth  decade,  only  five  years  before  the  outbreak  of  the 
Civil  War,  when  the  merchant  marine  of  the  United  States  had,  by  its 
expansion  and  prosperity,  come  into  strong  competition  with  that  of  England 
on  the  high  seas.  It  appears,  however,  that  before  the  shock  of  our  great 
conflict,  the  premonition  of  a  decline  in  our  foreign  commerce  was  felt ;  that 
is,  in  the  tonnage  of  our  ships  and  their  siiccess  in  competition.  Now  it  was 
that  sailing  vessels  began  to  yield  to  steamships.  Iron  took  the  place  of  wood 
as  the  principal  material  in  the  building  of  vessels.  There  came  a  day  of 
speed  and  of  cheap  fuel,  and  of  man}'  other  changes  in  the  conditions  of 
navigation  and  commerce. 

Mr.  Blaine  has  himself,  in  his  history  of  Congress,  admirably  sum- 
marized these  conditions  and  at  the  same  time  expressed  the  beginning  of 
his  anxiety  for  a  restoration  of  the  supremacy  of  the  United  States  in  the 
carrying  trade  of  the  world.  He  there  shows  that  after  1856  a  loss  of  2  per 
cent  annually  had  been  incurred  by  the  navigation  of  the  United  States.  At  the 
epoch  of  the  civil  war  this  rate  of  loss  had  risen  higher  and  higher,  until  American 
commerce  was  almost  obliterated.  He  showed  in  the  next  place  that  literally 
nothing  had  been  done  to  recover  the  ground  which  our  country  had  lost  in  her 
maritime   enterprises.       He  enlarges    upon  the  history  of   American  commerce  ; 

164  LIFE   AND   WORK   OF  JAMES   G.   BLAINE. 

shows  some  particular  facts  relative  to  our  commerce  with  Brazil ;  gives 
an  account  of  the  attempt  of  John  Roach,  the  Irish- American  ship-builder,  to 
establish  steamship  lines  between  our  country  and  the  Brazilian  Empire  ;  arraigns 
the  Democratic  party  in  Congress  for  its  alleged  hostility  to  the  efforts  which 
had  been  put  forth  to  restore  the  commerce  of  the  United  States,  and  points  out 
with  great  force  the  natural  advantages  which  the  United  States  enjoyed  for  the 
establishment  and  maintenance  of  a  great  mercantile  marine.  He  calls  atten- 
tion to  the  fact  that  in  the  past  sixteen  years  the  Government  of  the  United 
States  had  expended  more  than  three  hundred  millions  on  the  navy,  and 
scarcely  three  millions  in  the  attempt  to  build  up  the  commercial  marine  of 
the  country  ! 

The  subject  thus  presented  in  Mr.  Blaine's  writings  became  ever 
more  important  in  his  estimation.  It  was  in  his  nature  to  fret  at  any 
disparagement  of  his  country.  If  he  did  not  positively  fret  at  the  loss  of  his 
country's  prestige  on  the  sea,  he  at  least  seriously  and  nervously  considered 
the  question  with  a  view  to  the  remedy  of  the  evil. 

The  praise  of  Blaine  as  a  legislator  has  respect  in  particular  to  his 
unequivocal  patriotism.  He  wished  to  see  his  country  established  and  con- 
firmed in  her  greatness.  He  wished  to  contribute  to  her  pre-eminence  among 
the  nations,  and  to  devise  such  measures  as  should  make  her  forever  secure  in 
her  primacy.  The  great  part  of  his  work  in  the  Senate  was  in  support  of  such 
policies  as  he  deemed  requisite  to  the  consolidation  of  American  influence  among 
the  nations  of  the  world. 

It  was  for  the  existence  of  such  a  sentiment  and  its  activity  in  his  nature 
that  he  took  so  strong  a  part  with  respect  to  the  Halifax  Fisheries  Award. 
Perhaps  the  worst  example  of  a  deep-laid  scheme  to  beat  a  great  nation  of 
people  ever  devised  in  the  somewhat  cunning  diplomacy  of  ministers  was  that 
which  resulted  in  the  award  of  five  and  one-half  million  dollars  in  gold  coin 
against  the  United  States  and  in  favor  of  Great  Britain  for  the  very  dubious 
advantage  of  the  former  in  the  matter  of  our  northern  fisheries. 

The  award  was  one  of  the  issues  of  the  great  Treaty  of  Washington.  The 
article  of  the  treaty  on  which  the  matter  turned  was  XXII.,  as  follows:  "In- 
asmuch as  it  is  asserted  by  the  Government  of  Her  Britannic  Majesty  that 
the  privileges  accorded  to  the  citizens  of  the  United  States  under  Article  XVIII. 
of  this  treaty  are  of  greater  value  than  those  accorded  by  Articles  XIX.  and 
XXI.  of  this  treaty  to  the  subjects  of  Her  Britannic  Majesty,  and  this  asser- 
tion is  not  admitted  by  the  Government  of  the  United  States,  it  is  further 
agreed  that  commissioners  shall  be  appointed  to  determine,  having  regard  to 
the  privileges  accorded  by  the  United  States  to  the  subjects  of  Her  Britannic 
Majesty,  as  stated  in  Articles  XIX.  and  XXI.  of  this  treaty,  the  amount  of  any 
compensation  which  in  their  opinion  ought  to  be  paid  by  the  Government  of 
the  United  States  to  the  Government  of  Her  Britannic  Majesty  in  return  for 
the  privileges  accorded  to  the  citizens  of  the  United  States  under  Article  XVIIL 

LIFE   AND   WORK   OF  JAMES   G.   BLAINE.  165 

of  this  treaty;  and  that  any  sum  of  money  which  the  said  commissioners  may 
so  award  shall  be  paid  by  the  United  States  Government  in  a  gross  sum, 
within  twelve  months  after  such  award  shall  have  been  given." 

The  Treaty  of  Washington  also  prescribed  the  manner  in  which  three 
commissioners  should  be  appointed  to  determine  the  possible  amount  of  such 
payment,  should  any  be  made,  by  the  United  States  to  Great  Britain.  One 
commissioner  was  to  be  appointed  by  the  President  of  the  United  States  ;  one 
by  Her  Britannic  Majesty,  and  the  third  by  concurrence  of  the  President  and 
the  Queen.  But,  should  these  two  distinguished  personages,  or  rather  the 
Governments  which  they  represented,  be  unable  to  agree  on  the  third  commis- 
sioner, then  the  choice  of  the  third  should  rest  with  the  Austrian  Ambassador 
at  the  Court  of  St.  James.  Why  it  was  left  to  him  is  one  of  the  inscrutable 
things  which  must  be  revealed  from  diplomatical  histoty  at  the  last  day. 

The  reader  is  perhaps  informed  as  the  result  of  the  contest  for  the  third 
commissioner.  Great  Britain  got  him.  The  Count  Von  Beust  named  Mr. 
Maurice  Delfosse,  Minister  of  Belgium,  resident  at  Washington.  Mr.  Blaine  has 
himself  happily  pointed  out  the  extraordinary  character  of  this  appointment.  It 
would  have  been  impossible  perhaps  to  name  any  prominent  statesman,  not 
himself  a  British  subject,  who  was  more  likely  to  make  an  award  in  favor  of 
Great  Britain  than  the  person  chosen  in  the  arbitration.  He  was  in  every  way 
especially  disqualified.  In  the  first  place,  the  Government  of  Great  Britain  had 
virtually  created  the  Kingdom  of  Belgium.  That  Government  was  the  upholder 
of  the  kingdom  almost  against  the  logic  of  events.  King  Leopold,  its  first 
sovereign,  had  taken  in  marriage  the  Princess  Charlotte,  daughter  of  the  Prince 
Regent  of  the  kingdom.  He  was  Queen  Victoria's  uncle  on  the  mother's  side 
and  also  Prince  Albert's  uncle  on  the  father's  side.  He  was  marshal  in  the 
British  army  and  actually,  at  the  time  of  his  service,  a  pensioner  to  the  extent 
of  fifty  thousand  pounds  sterling  on  the  British  exchequer !  He  was  indeed  an 
-extraordinary  personage  to  sit  on  a  court  of  arbitration  in  a  matter  where  the 
interests  of  Great  Britain  were  concerned.  Nevertheless,  he  did  so  sit,  and  it 
was  he  who,  by  his  casting  vote,  made  the  award  of  the  five  and  one-half  million 
dollars  against  our  Government. 

It  was  a  strong  attestation  of  the  progress  which  arbitration  has  made 
among  the  peoples  of  the  world,  that  the  Halifax  award,  iniquitous  as  it  was, 
was  promptly  and  fully  paid  by  the  Government  of  the  United  States.  There 
was  sharp  criticism  all  along  the  line,  particularly  in  the  Senate ;  but  it  was 
felt  to  be  better  h\  far  that  the  wrong  should  be  fulfilled  by  payment  than 
that  the  beneficent  principle  of  arbitration  should   be  renounced. 

Mr.  Blaine,  in  common  with  his  fellow  Senators,  shared  and  uttered  the 
deep  dislike  and  repugnance  of  the  people  relative  to  the  award  against  his 
country.  He  very  properly  says  :  "  The  wrong  was  done  when  he  [Delfosse]  was 
elected  as  third  commissioner,  and  the  tenacity  with  which  he  was  urged  will 
always    require    explanation    from    the    British    Government."      Another    matter 

166  LIFE   AND   WORK   OF  JAMES   G.    BLAINE. 

which  was  constantly  in  the  mind  of  Blaine  at  this  epoch  was  the  Southern 
question.  He  saw  around  him,  in  both  houses  of  Congress,  the  leaders  of  the 
defunct  Confederacy.  He  saw  abroad,  throughout  the  South,  the  ways  and  means 
prepared  for  the  production  of  that  political  phenomenon  called  "  The  Solid 
South."  He  upheld  such  measures  as  appeared  to  him  likely  to  break  some- 
what the  Southern  influence  in  Congress,  and  it  was  pursuant  of  this  policy 
that  he  favored  the  limited  interference  of  the  Government  with  what  may  be 
called  the  freedom  of  elections  in  the  States. 

It  was  in  this  spirit  that  he  entered  into  the  senatorial  battle  with  respect 
to  the  use  of  troops  at  the  polls.  The  Democratic  party  had  appended  to 
the  army  appropriation  bill  an  amendment  to  the  effect  "  that  no  money  appro- 
priated in  this  act  is  appropriated  or  shall  be  paid  for  the  subsistence,  equip- 
ment, transportation  or  compensation  of  any  portion  of  the  army  of  the  United 
States  to  be  used  as  a  police  force  to  keep  peace  at  the  polls  at  any  election 
held  within  any   State." 

The  project  of  stationing  soldiers  at  the  polls  failed.  Whether  it  were  or 
were  not  meritorious  as  an  expedient,  it  was  not  fit  as  a  precedent  or  a  policy. 
The  measure  went  by,  and  Blaine,  in  common  with  nearly  all  the  first  leaders 
of  the  Republican  part}-,  was  constrained  to  see  the  complete  revival  of  power 
in  the   hands    of   the    ancient    Confederate    party    throughout    the    South. 

Another  question  which  came  to  Mr.  Blaine  in  the  Senate  was  that  of 
Chinese  immigration.  In  a  subsequent  chapter  of  this  volume  we  have  pre- 
sented his  speech  on  this  question  as  well  as  that  on  the  Halifax  award. 
Perhaps  no  question  has  possessed  more  contradictory  elements  than  that  of  the 
immigration  of  the  Chinese  into  the  United  States.  The  character  of  Chinese 
civilization  is  well  understood.  Perhaps  we  should  emphasize  the  isolation  of 
the  race  and  dwell  upon  the  fact  that  thus  far  it  has  not  shown  disposition  or, 
indeed,  capacity  to  assimilate  with  any  other  than  itself.  Wherever  the  Chinese 
go  they  seem  to  drift  around  among  the  peoples  whom  they  visit  as  foreign 
particles  incapable  of  assimilation. 

With  the  opening  of  the  great  industries  of  California  and  the  other  Pacific 
States  as  far  back  as  the  earlier  years  after  the  discovery  of  gold,  the  men 
of  the  Celestial  empire  began  to  reach  the  American  coasts.  As  laborers  there 
are  none  more  assiduous  than  they  and  none  others  who  can  live  as  cheaplv. 
The  Chinese  gold-miners  were  able  to  accumulate  not  a  little  of  the  precious 
metal ;  but  it  was  observed  that  they  immediately  returned  to  their  own  country. 
giving  place  to  an  increasing  train  of  immigration. 

Relations  thus  began  between  our  country  and  China.  These  relations 
date  back,  indeed,  to  the  year  1844.  In  1868  a  treaty  was  negotiated  between 
the  United  States  and  China  known  as  the  Burlingame  Treaty ;  for  at  that 
time  the  Honorable  Anson  Burlingame,  who  had  been  the  American  minister 
to  China,  had  accepted  from  the  Emperor  an  appointment  as  his  representative 
to  fore:  jn  Powers.  The  Burlingame  Treaty  recognized  the  right  of  both  Americans 

LIFE   AND   WORK   OF  JAMES   G.    BLAINE.  167 

and  Chinese  freely  to  visit  each  the  country  of  the  other  and  to  reside 
there — this,  however,  without  respect  to  naturalization.  One  clause  of  the 
treaty  had  special  significance.  It  was  agreed  as  follows : — "  The  high  con- 
tracting parties  join  in  reprobating  any  other  than  an  entirely  voluntary  emi- 
gration." They  consequently  agree  to  pass  laws  making  it  a  penal  offence  for 
citizens  of  the  United  States  or  Chinese  subjects  to  take  Chinese  subjects 
either  to  the  United  States  or  to  any  foreign  country,  or  for  a  Chinese 
subject  or  citizen  of  the  United  States  to  take  citizens  of  the  United  States  to 
China  or  to  any  foreign  country,  without  their  free  and  voluntary  consent 

From  these  provisions  it  is  clear  that  the  danger  of  a  Chinese  labor-trade 
— that  is,  of  an  importation  of  Chinese  laborers  by  American  capital  and  the 
substitution  of  such  labor  for  that  of  American  citizens — was  foreseen  as  early 
as  1868.  President  Grant,  on  more  occasions  than  one,  called  the  attention  of 
Congress  to  such  danger,  and  advised  that  body  to  make  provision  against  it. 
In  course  of  time  the  peril  increased.  The  Chinese  in  California  were  multi- 
plied by  thousands.  They  constituted  a  quarter  in  San  Francisco.  They  made 
their  way  into  the  mines  and  along  the  railways.  The  spirit  of  opposition  to 
the  presence  of  such  an  element  in  Pacific  society  became  pronounced  and  then 
intense.  The  subject,  from  being  social,  became  first  political  and  then  dema- 
gogical. The  question  of  restricting  Mongolian  immigration  into  the  United 
States  was  agitated,  and  a  bill  for  that  purpose  was,  in  1S78,  carried  through 
Congress.  The  principal  features  of  the  act  were  the  prohibition  on  vessels 
against  bringing  more  than  fifteen  Chinese  passengers  to  any  port  of  the  United 
States,  and  an  authorization  to  the  President  to  notify  the  Chinese  Emperor  of 
the  intended  abrogation  of  Articles  V.  and  VI.  of  the  Burlingame  Treaty.  That 
treaty  had  provided  that  either  of  the  high  contracting  parties  might,  on  due 
notification  to  the  other,  abrogate  the  existing  compact,  if  such  party  should  feel 
aggrieved  at  its  provisions  and  results. 

It  can  hardly  be  doubted  that  the  bill  for  the  exclusion  of  the  Chinese  was 
carried  through  Congress,  in  part  at  least,  for  the  political  consideration  that 
the  party  favoring  such  a  measure  would  thereby  secure  the  fealty  of  the 
Pacific  States.  Each  party  was,  therefore,  anxious  to  put  itself  on  record  in 
favor  of  those  views  which  prevailed  and  were  intensified  in  California.  It  is 
likely,  however,  that  Senator  Blaine,  in  favoring  the  exclusion  of  the  Chinese, 
was  not  so  much  as  many  others  affected  in  his  principles  by  the  politics 
involved.  His  Americanism  led  him  to  dread  the  presence  in  our  country  of  a 
large  Oriental  element  floating  about  without  assimilation.  However  this  may 
be,  President  Hayes  vetoed  the  Chinese  bill,  and  Congress  failed  to  pass  the 
measure  over  the  opposition  of  the  Executive.  The  legislation,  however,  led  to 
the  appointment  of  three  commissioners  from  the  United  States  to  proceed  to 
China,  under  authority  of  the  President,  to  negotiate  a  modification  of  the  Bur- 
lingame Treaty.     At  the  head  of  this  commission  was  the  Honorable  James  B. 

168  LIFE   AND   WORK   OF  JAMES   G.   BLAINE. 

Augell,  president  of  the  Michigan  University.  With  him  were  associated  Honor- 
able John  F.  Swift,  of  California,  and  Honorable  William  Henry  Trescot,  of 
South  Carolina. 

The  result  was  the  negotiation  of  two  new  treaties.  The  first  of  these 
related  to  the  introduction  and  immigration  of  Chinese  into  the  United  States, 
and  the  other  had  respect  to  the  existing  commercial  relations  between  the  two 
countries.  That  part  of  the  treaty  relating  to  the  introduction  of  Chinese  into 
our  country  was  provisional,  but  it  was  immediately  followed  up  with  laws 
enacted  by  Congress  for  the  restriction  of  Chinese  immigration. 

Air.  Blaine's  five  years  of  residence  in  Washington,  as  Senator  from  Maine, 
were  passed  in  the  usual  manner  of  prominent  Senators.  He  was,  however, 
with  little  doubt,  the  most  distinguished  figure  of  the  times.  He  was  more 
admired  and  sought  after  than  was  perhaps  any  of  his  colleagues.  The  same 
popular  interest  followed  him ;  but  followed  with  augmented  volume.  His  home 
was  thronged  with  visitors  and  his  desk  was  always  heaped  with  a  mass  of  un- 
finished business.  Beyond  his  life  as  a  statesman  there  lay  his  life  as  a  politician. 
It  is  certain  that  both  he  and  his  friends  looked  to  the  probability  of  a  presiden- 
tial nomination  at  the  hands  of  his  party  in   1880. 

We  have  already  recounted  the  story  of  the  Republican  National  Conten- 
tion of  that  year,  and  pointed  out  the  circumstances  which  led  to  the  substitu- 
tion of  the  name  of  Garfield  for  that  of  Blaine  on  the  presidential  ticket.  That  j 
ticket  was  successful  at  the  polls ;  and  as  the  natural,  almost  inevitable,  conse- 
quence  of  the  result,  Blaine  was  appointed  Secretary  of  State.  This  involved  I 
his  retiracy  from  the  Senate.  On  the  fourth  of  March,  1881,  he  resigned  his 
seat  to  take  his  place  at  the  head  of  the  Garfield  cabinet.  The  letter  which  he 
wrote  to  the  President  accepting  the  appointment  is  highly  characteristic.  We 
append  it  hereto  as  follows : — 

Washington,  December  20,   1880. 

My  Dear  Garfield  : — Your  generous  invitation  to  enter  your  cabinet  as 
Secretary  of  State  has  been  under  consideration  for  more  than  three  weeks.  The 
thought  had  really  never  occurred  to  my  mind  until  at  our  late  conference  you 
presented  it  with  such  cogent  arguments  in  its  favor  and  with  such  warmth  of 
personal  friendship  in  aid  of  your  kind  offer. 

I    know    that  an    early  answer   is    desirable,   and    I    have  waited    only  long 
enough  to  consider  the  subject  in  all    its    bearings,  and   to  make  up  niy  mind,  . 
definitely  and  conclusively.     I    now    say  to    you,  in    the  same  cordial    spirit    in 
which  you  have  invited  me,  that  I  accept    the  position. 

It    is    no  affectation  for  me  to  add    that    I    make  this  decision,  not  for   the 
honor  of  the  promotion  it  gives  me  in  the  public  service,  but  because  I  think  I  1 
can  be  useful  to  the  country  and  to  the  party ;  useful  to  yon  as  the  responsible  : 
leader  of  the  party  and  the  great  head  of  the  Government. 

I  am  influenced  somewhat,  perhaps,  by  the  shower  of  letters  I  have  received  ! 
urging  me  to  accept,  written    to  me    in  consequence  of  the    mere    unauthorized  f 

LIFE   AND   WORK   OF  JAMES   G.    BLAINE.  169 

newspaper  report  that  you  had  been  pleased  to  offer  me  the  place.  While  I 
have  received  these  letters  from  all  sections  of  the  Union,  I  have  been  especially 
pleased,  and  even  surprised,  at  the  cordial  and  widely-extended  feeling  in  my 
favor  throughout  New  England,  where  I  had  expected  to  encounter  local  jealousy 
and  perhaps  rival  aspiration. 

In  our  new  relation  I  shall  give  all  that  I  am  and  all  that  I  can  hope  to 
be,  freely  and  joyfully,  to  your  service.  You  need  no  pledge  of  my  loyalty  in 
heart  and  in  act.  I  should  be  false  to  myself  did  I  not  prove  true  both  to  the 
great  trust  you  confide  to  me  and  to  your  own  personal  and  political  fortunes 
in  the  present  and  in  the  future.  Your  administration  must  be  made  brilliantly 
successful  and  strong  in  the  confidence  and  pride  of  the  people,  not  at  all  direct- 
ing its  energies  for  re-election,  and  yet  compelling  that  result  by  the  logic  of 
■events  and  by  the  imperious  necessities  of  the  situation. 

To  that  most  desirable  consummation  I  feel  that,  next  to  yourself,  I  can 
possibly  contribute  as  much  influence  as  any  other  one  man.  I  say  this  not  from 
egotism  or  vain  glory,  but  merely  as  a  deduction  from  a  plain  analysis  of  the 
political  forces  which  have  been  at  work  in  the  country  for  five  years  past,  and 
which  have  been  significantly  shown  in  two  great  national  conventions.  I  accept 
it  as  one  of  the  happiest  circumstances  connected  with  this  affair  that  in  allying 
my  political  fortunes  with  yours — or  rather  for  the  time  merging  mine  in  yours 
— my  heart  goes  with  my  head,  and  that  I  carry  to  you  not  only  political 
support,  but  personal  and  devoted  friendship.  I  can  but  regard  it  as  some- 
what remarkable  that  two  men  of  the  same  age,  entering  Congress  at  the  same 
time,  influenced  by  the  same  aims  and  cherishing  the  same  ambitions,  should 
never,  for  a  single  moment  in  eighteen  years  of  close  intimacy,  have  had  a  mis- 
understanding or  a  coolness,  and  that  our  friendship  has  steadily  grown  with 
our  growth  and  strengthened  with  our    strength. 

It  is  this  fact  which  has  led  me  to  the  conclusion  embodied  in  this  letter, 
for,  however  much,  my  dear  Garfield,  I  might  admire  you  as  a  statesman,  I 
would  not  enter  your  cabinet  if  I  did  not  believe  in  you  as  a  man  and  love  you 
as  a  friend.  Always  faithfully  yours,  James    G.  Blaine. 

The  other  members  of  the  Garfield  cabinet  were  :  William  Windom,  Secre- 
tary of  the  Treasury ;  Wayne  MacVeagh,  Attorney  General  ;  Robert  T.  Lincoln, 
Secretary  of  War ;  William  H.  Hunt,  Secretary  of  the  Navy ;  Samuel  J.  Kirk- 
wood,  Secretary  of  the  Interior,  and  Thomas  L.  James,  Postmaster-General. 

We  shall  not  long  detain  the  reader  with  the  diplomatical  life  of  Mr.  Blaine 
during  his  first  occupancy  of  the  Department  of  State.  It  is  sufficient  to  note 
that  a  policy  was  introduced  into  the  Government  of  which  Blaine  was  the  author 
and  principal  promoter.  That  policy  he  has  himself  outlined  concisely  as 
follows  : — 

The  foreign  policy  of  President  Garfield's  administration  had  two  principal 
objects  in  view  :  First,  to  bring  about  peace  and  prevent  future  wars  in  North 
and  South  America ;  second,  to  cultivate  such  friendly  commercial  relations  with 

170  'LIFE   AND   WORK   OF  JAMES   G.    BLAINE. 

all  American  countries  as  would  lead  to  a  large  increase  in  the  export  trade  of 
the  United  States  by  supplying  those  fabrics  in  which  we  are  abundantly  able 
to  compete  with  the  manufacturing  nations  of  Europe. 

We  shall  not  here  recount  in  extenso  the  other  features  of  the  policy  and 
method  of  the  Secretary  of  State.  Perhaps  the  most  conspicuous  of  all  Blaine's 
acts  while  Secretary  of  State  under  Garfield  was  the  invitation  which  he  sent 
out  to  the  American  nations  for  a  Peace  Congress,  to  be  held  at  Washington 
City.  The  time  named  for  such  meeting  was  March  15,  1882.  Meanwhile, 
Garfield  was  assassinated,  and,  although  the  Arthur  administration  made  as 
though  it  would  favor  the  Peace  Congress,  the  enterprise  went  awry  and  was 
presently  abortive. 

We  should  not  pass  over  this  period  without  noting  the  calmness  and 
magnanimity  of  the  Secretary  of  State  during  the  long  decline  of  Garfield. 
None  proved  himself  to  be  a  more  worthy  friend  of  the  President  than  Blaine. 
The  latter  became  a  sort  of  organ  between  the  people  and  the  stricken  Chief 
Magistrate.  When  Garfield  died  it  was  he  who  notified  Vice-President  Arthur 
and  called  him  to  take  the  oath  of  office.  He  was  also  the  principal  adviser  in 
the  preparation  and  conduct  of  the  funeral  of  the  dead  President,  and  was  in 
the  following  February  appointed  his  official  eulogist. 

We  now  pass  over  an  interval  of  seven  years  between  the  first  and  second 
service  of  Blaine  in  the  Department  of  State.  He  himself  was  defeated  for  the 
presidency — defeated  by  a  scratch.  The  Democratic  party  came  into  power  with 
the  resolute  and  stern  Cleveland  in  the  presidency.  Mr.  Blaine  passed  a  long 
interval  in  private  life,  or  in  such  semblance  of  privacy  as  the  American  people 
were  disposed  to  concede  to  him.  It  was  at  this  time  that  his  reputation  as  a 
statesman  spread  over  the  sea.  He  himself  went  abroad,  and  his  mind  became 
mature  and  calm  under  the  skies  of   Italy  and  France. 

As  the  Cleveland  administration  grew  to  a  close  none  might  well  foresee 
whether  the  party  that  had  put  the  President  in  authority  could  succeed  in 
replacing  him  there,  or  whether  he  must  yield  to  another.  Victory  inclined  to 
the  Republican  banner ;  Harrison  came  in  on  the  tide,  and  a  new  opportunity 
was  given  to  the  Republican  party,  not  so  much  to  appease  itself  with  the  fat 
of  offices  and  the  emoluments  of  temporary  triumph,  as  to  bring  forth  fruits 
meet  for  repentance,  and  recover,  if  might  be,  its  great  prestige  with  the 
American  people. 

The  election  of  Harrison  to  the  presidency  implied,  among  other  things, 
the  restoration  of  Blaine  to  the  office  of  Secretary  of  State.  The  appointment  went 
as  a  matter  of  course,  and  Blaine  was  again  installed  in  the  Department  of  State. 
He  was  now  permitted  to  renew,  and  he  did  renew,  the  policies  which  he  had 
conceived  seven  years  previously.  We  have,  at  another  part  of  the  present 
work,  illustrated  with  sufficient  amplitude  the  work  of  the  State  Department 
under  the  administration  of  Harrison.  The  reader  knows  how  many  things 
went    forward    to    complete    or    partial    success.      He    knows    also    how  serious 

LIFE   AND   WORK   OF  JAMES   B.   BLAINE.  171 

were  the  complications  which  arose  on  this  hand  and  on  that ;  an  imbroglio 
with  Italy ;  warlike  complication  with  Chili ;  a  rupture  with  Great  Britain  obout 
the  sealing  fisheries  of  Alaska.  In  the  midst  came  the  International  American 
Conference — an  event  which  Blaine  as  Secretary  of  State  had  first  imagined, 
then  prepared,   and  finally  developed  into  fact. 

One  has  only  to  look  over  the  publications  which  issued  from  the  Depart- 
ment of  State  for  the  years  1889-90-91  to  be  convinced,  as  well  as  surprised, 
at  the  vast  volume  of  business  transacted  in  the  foreign  relations  of  the  Uuited 
States.  Such  work  is  fit  to  break  down  men  of  genius,  to  make  them  prema- 
turely old,  to  crush  their  nerve-tissue  under  the  sense  of  responsibility  and 
difficulty.  Blaine  experienced  this  hardship.  He  also  had  other  hardships  most 
affecting  to  endure.  Death  came  into  his  family.  His  son,  Walker  Blaine,  a 
man  of  promise,  who  had  already  begun  to  be  a  diplomatist,  died ;  also  the 
eldest  daughter,  Alice,  wife  of  the  military  officer,  Colonel  John  J.  Coppinger. 
Such  accumulated  calamity  might  well    prey  upon    the    spirit  of  the   strongest. 

We  are  permitted,  in  this  connection,  to  repeat  an  incident  or  a  conversa- 
tion furnished  to  the  author  by  Bishop  John  F.  Hurst,  of  the  Methodist  Epis- 
copal Church.  After  the  death  of  Mr.  Blaine's  son  and  daughter,  he  called 
upon  the  Secretary  and  tendered  him  his  sympathies.  He  went  further,  and 
speaking  in  behalf  of  the  great  denomination  which,  as  bishop,  he  represented, 
he  told  Mr.  Blaine  that  the  sympathies  and  prayers  of  the  church  were  his  in 
his  days  of  grief.  Mr.  Blaine  heard  him  with  attentive  silence  until  the  bishop 
had  ceased  speaking,  and  then  said :  "  Bishop  Hurst,  I  thank  you  for  your 
expressions  of  sympathy  and  interest,  and  also  thank  the  denomination  which 
you  represent.  The  death  of  my  son  and  daughter  brought  to  my  mind  a 
serious  problem.  In  the  presence  of  their  loss  I  must  do  something.  It  seemed 
necessary  for  me  that  I  should  adopt  a  policy  and  follow  it  in  order  to  live  or 
continue  my  existence.  One  of  two  courses  seemed  to  suggest  itself;  but  which 
should  I  take  ?  I  first  thought  that  I  must  abandon  public  life  and  dwell 
henceforth  with  memory,  else  I  could  not  go  further.  On  the  other  hand,  it 
seemed  that  I  might  ignore  the  personal  and  family  affliction  which  had  fallen 
upon  me,  resume  my  public  duties,  devote  myself  to  them  with  such  assiduity 
as  must  needs  call  my  mind  away  from  my  losses,  and  thus  manage  to  complete 
my  course.  Of  the  two  alternatives,  /  chose  the  latter.  I  am  endeavoring  to  devote 
myself  with  increasing  assiduity  to  those  official  and  public  cares  and  anxieties,  and 
thus  I  manage  to  maintain  my  interest  in  life.  I  think  it  better  to  go  on  in  this 
way  and  to  think  as  little  of  the   past  as  may  be  under  the  circumstances." 

Another  fact  which  here  appears  for  our  consideration  is  the  rather  severe 
break  which  now  came  in  the  Secretary's  vitality  and  bodily  organs.  He  gave 
away  under  the  action  of  the  forces  that  played  upon  him,  abetted,  as  those  forces 
were,  by  the  disappointments  and  troubles  that  were  within  him  rather  than 
without.  He  broke  prematurely  under  his  years,  and  was  already  remarked  as 
an  aged  man.     In  this  character  he  was  seen  about  his   residence    on    the    east- 

172  LIFE   AND   WORK   OF  JAMES   G.    BLAINE. 

side  of  Jackson,  or  in  going  to  and  from  the  other  departments  and  the  White 
House.  His  form,  in  these  last  days  of  his  official  life,  was  still  erect  and 
commanding.  His  step  was  habitually  brisk.  His  close-cut  beard  and  his  hair 
were  silvered  almost  to  whiteness.  His  features  relaxed  a  good  deal  and  his 
countenance  at  times  was  dulled.  At  other  times,  as  his  spirits  rose  or  the  tide 
of  improving  health  came  again,  he  fired  up  in  his  old-time  manner  and  his 
lustrous  eyes  regained  for  the  hour  their  brilliancy  and  fascination. 

In  another  place,  we  have  discussed  the  question  which  was  before  Blaine 
at  the  beginning  of  the  year  1892.  Now,  indeed,  was  the  last  chance  really 
come  !  Men  do  not  like  to  face  or  to  take  their  last  chance.  They  would  rather 
postpone  the  day  of  the  great  alternative.  Certainly,  Mr.  Blaine  could  not  hope 
to  be  a  candidate  for  the  presidency  in  1896.  The  glittering  prize  must  there- 
fore come  at  this  juncture  or  never  come  at  all.  It  is  probable  that  he  had 
schooled  his  mind  to  let  the  presidency  go ;  but  at  times  and  under  certain 
circumstances  the  old  passion  and  hope  revived.  It  is  likely  that  his  expiring 
ambition  in  this  particular  was  whetted  to  sharpness  or  to  such  blunt  sharpness 
as  still  remained  in  his  constitution,  by  Mrs.  Blaine,  who  seems  always  to  have 
had  a  strong  influence  over  the  mind  of  her  husband.  The  more  zealous  of  his 
party-following  also  favored  this,  the  fifth  use  of  his  name  in  candidature  for 
the  presidency.  His  relations  in  the  State  Department  and  with  the  administra- 
tion became  vexatious  to  a  degree.  He  neither  could  nor  could  not.  It  would 
appear  that  in  the  cabinet  he  bore  himself,  to  the  last,  with  great  dignity  and 
with  personal  fidelity  to  his  trusts.  The  office-holding  classes  of  the  country 
wished  the  renomination  of  Harrison.  The  President,  himself,  also  desired  a 
re-election.  The  demand  was  made  on  Blaine  that  he  should  declare  himself.  He 
did  declare  himself  to  this  purport — that  his  name  would  not  be  presented  at 
the  Minneapolis  convention  as  that  of  a  candidate  for  the  presidency.  But  this 
would  not  suffice.  There  were  many  who  would  nominate  him  anyhow.  He 
had  at  his  disposal  the  bulk  and  the  enthusiasm  of  his  party.  Finally,  when 
the  crisis  could  be  postponed  no  longer,  he  withdrew  from  the  cabinet  and  letl 
events  take  their  own  course.  For  a  few  days  it  seemed  that  his  reputation  and. 
magnetic  power  over  his  party  would  prevail  against  all  organization,  and  that| 
he  would  again  be  the  nominee.  But  the  opposing  cohorts  put  themselves) 
compactly  together  and  the  movement  in  favor  of  Blaine  was  blown  away. 

Already  the  great  Secretary  had  retired  from  his  official  position.  It  was1 
the  last  act  in  a  long  and  successful  public  career.  The  effect  produced  on  the 
public  minds  was  profound.  New,  at  last  it  was  realized  that  James  G.  Blaine; 
was  to  be  no  more  considered  as  a  quantity  and  possibility  in  the  public  affairs; 
of  the  country.  The  conviction  that,  as  a  public  man,  he  was  no  more,  settled 
heavily  on  the  heart  of  the  nation.  Both  parties  and  all  parties  could  but  regret 
the  vicissitude  of  affairs  which  had  at  length  ruled,  from  one  of  the  highest 
places  of  authority,  the  illustrious  occupant  and  made  him  of  no  further  official, 
count  in  the  destinies  of  the  American  nation. 



'N    the   current    chapter  we    shall    attempt    to  give  some 
account  of  an  event  with  which  the  name  of  James  G. 
Blaine    is    destined    to    be    forever    associated    in    our 
history.     We  refer  to  the  International  American  Con- 
ference, popularly    known    as    the    Pan-American    Con- 
gress.       This     great     delegate     assembly,    from     the 
American    Republics,  was  held    in  Washington,  D.  Co 
S^Sg^f    beginning    on    the    second    of    October,     1889.       The 
meetings  were  held    in  the  diplomatic  chamber  of  the 
Department    of   State.      It  was  from    beginning    to    end   an  affair 
of  that    Department,  and  Mr.   Blaine,    as  Secretary   of  State,   was, 
from  the  incipiency,  its  prevailing  spirit.     The  proceedings  of  the 
Confei-ence  have  now  been  published  from  the  printing  office  of  the 
Government,    and    constitute,    under    the    head    of    Reports    and 
Discussions,  four  large  volumes.      These  contain  a  mass  of  infor- 
mation and  a  variety  of  views  on  questions  of  national  and  inter- 
national   policy,    full   of    interest,    and    constituting     the    original 
material  of    an    important    chapter    in    the    future    history  of   the 
United  States. 

Premising,  we  may  say,  that  the  International  American 
Conference,  held  under  Mr.  Blaine's  auspices,  was  the  first 
important  climax  in  a  series  of  movements,  which  had  found  their  first  expres- 
sion as  far  back  as  the  close  of  the  first  quarter  of  our  century.  From  1825 
to  1888,  attempts  more  or  less  formal,  may  be  noted  to  hold  a  conference  of  the 
American  nation,  and  to  devise,  as  it  were,  a  kind  of  American  internationality. 
Of  the  nature  of  this  project,  we  may  gain  some  idea  by  a  reference  to  the 
address  of  introduction,  delivered  by  Mr.  Blaine  himself,  to  the  assembled  dele- 
gates from  thirteen  American  Republics,  October  2,  1889.  Addressing  the 
assembly  Mr.  Blaine   said  : — 


Gentlemen  of  the  International  American  Conference  : — Speaking 
for  the  Government  of  the  United  States,  I  bid  you  welcome  to  this  Capital. 
Speaking  for  the  people  of  the  United  States,  I  bid  you  welcome  to  every  section 
and  to  every  State  of  the  Union.  You  come  in  response  to  an  invitation  extended 
by  the  President,  on  the  special  authorization  of  Congress.     Your  presence  here 


174  LIFE   AND   WORK   OF  JAMES   G.    BLAINE. 

is  no  ordinary  event.  It  signifies  much  to  the  people  of  all  America  to-day. 
It  may  signify  far  more  in  the  days  to  come.  No  conference  of  nations  has 
ever  assembled  to  consider  the  welfare  of  territorial  possessions  so  vast  and  to 
contemplate  the  possibilities  of  a  future  so  great  and  so  inspiring.  Those  now 
sitting  within  these  walls  are  empowered  to  speak  for  nations,  whose  borders 
are  on  both  the  great  oceans,  whose  northern  limits  are  touched  by  the  Arctic 
waters  for  a  thousand  miles  beyond  the  Strait  of  Behriug,  and  whose  southern 
extension  furnishes  human  habitations  farther  below  the  equator  than  is  else- 
where possible  on    the  globe. 

The  aggregate  territorial  extent  of  the  nations,  here  represented,  falls  but 
little  short  of  12,000,000  of  square  miles — more  than  three  times  the  area  of  all 
Europe,  and  but  little  less  than  one-fourth  part  of  the  globe ;  while  in  the 
respect  to  the  power  of  producing  the  articles  which  are  essential  to  human  life 
and  those  which  minister  to  life's  luxury,  they  constitute  even  the  larger  portion 
of  the  entire  world.  These  great  possessions  to-day  have  an  aggregate  popula- 
tion approaching  120,000,000,  but  if  peopled  as  densely  as  the  average  of  Europe, 
the  total  number  would  exceed  1,000,000,000.  While  considerations  of  this 
character  must  inspire  Americans,  both  south  and  north,  with  the  liveliest  anti- 
cipation of  future  grandeur  and  power,  they  must  also  impress  them  with  a 
sense  of  the  gravest  responsibility  touching  the  character  and  development  of 
their  respective  nationalities. 

The  delegates  I  am  addressing  can  do  much  to  establish  permanent  rela- 
tions of  confidence,  respect  and  friendship  between  the  nations  which  they  repre- 
sent. They  can  show  to  the  world  an  honorable,  peaceful  Conference  of  eighteen 
independent  American  Powers,  in  which  all  shall  meet  on  terms  of  absolute 
equality ;  a  Conference  in  which  there  can  be  no  attempt  to  coerce  a  single 
delegate  against  his  own  conception  of  the  interests  of  his  nation ;  a  Conference 
which  will  permit  no  secret  understanding  on  any  subject,  but  will  frankly 
publish  to  the  world  all  its  conclusions  ;  a  Conference  which  will  tolerate  no 
spirit  of  conquest,  but  will  aim  to  cultivate  an  American  sympathy  as  broad  as 
both  continents ;  a  Conference  which  will  form  no  selfish  alliance  against  the 
older  nations  from  which  we  are  proud  to  claim  inheritance — a  Conference,  in 
fine,  which  will  seek  nothing,  propose  nothing,  endure  nothing  that  is  not,  in 
the  general  sense  of  all  the  delegates,  timely  and  wise  and  peaceful. 

And  yet  we  cannot  be  expected  to  forget  that  our  common  fate  has  made 
us  inhabitants  of  the  two  continents  which,  at  the  close  of  four  centuries,  are 
still  regarded  beyond  the  seas,  as  the  New  World.  Like  situations  beget  like 
sympathies  and  impose  like  duties.  We  meet  in  firm  belief  that  the  nations 
of  America  ought  to  be  and  can  be  more  helpful,  each  to  the  other,  than  they 
now  are,  and  that  each  will  find  advantage  and  profit  from  an  enlarged  inter- 
course with  the  others. 

We  believe  that  we  should  be  drawn  together  more  closely  by  the  highways 
of  the  sea,  and  that  at  no  distant  day  the  railway  system  of  the  north  and  south 



will  meet  upon  the  isthmus  aud  connect  by  land  routes  the  political    and  com- 
mercial capitals  of  all  America. 

We  believe  that  hearty  co-operation,  based  on  hearty  confidence,  will  save 
all  American  States  from  the  burdens  and  evils  which  have  long  and  cruelly 
afflicted  the  older  nations  of  the  world. 

We  believe  that  a  spirit  of  justice,  of  common  and  equal  interest,  between 
the  American  States,  will  leave  no  room  for  an  artificial  balance  of  power  alike 
unto  that  which  has  led  to  wars  abroad  and  drenched  Europe  in  blood. 

We  believe  that  friendship,  avowed  with  candor  and  maintained  with  good 
faith,  will  remove  from  American  States  the  necessity  of  guarding  boundary 
lines  between  themselves  with 
fortification  and  military  force. 

We  believe  that  standing 
armies,  beyond  those  which  are 
needful  for  public  order  and  the 
safety  of  internal  administration, 
should  be  unknown  on  both 
American  continents. 

We  believe  that  friendship 
and  not  force,  the  spirit  of  just 
law  and  not  the  violence  of  the 
mob,  should  be  the  recognized 
rule  of  administration  between 
American  nations  and  in  Amer- 
ican nations. 

To  these  subjects,  and  those 
which  are  cognate  thereto,  the 
attention  of  this  Conference  is 
earnestly  and  cordially  invited  by 
the  Government  of  the  United 
States.  It  will  be  a  great  gain 
when  we  shall  acquire  that  com- 
mon confidence,  on  which  all  mr.  buine  during  pan-american  congress 
international  friendship  must  rest.  It  will  be  a  greater  gain  when  we  shall  be 
able  to  draw  the  people  of  all  American  nations  into  close  acquaintance  with  each 
other,  an  end  to  be  facilitated  by  more  frequent  and  more  rapid  intercommuni- 
cation. It  will  be  the  greatest  gain  when  the  personal  and  commercial  relations 
of  the  American  States,  south  and  north,  shall  be  so  developed  and  so  regulated 
that  each  shall  acquire  the  highest  possible  advantage  from  the  enlightened 
and  enlarged  intercourse  of  all. 

Before  the  Conference  shall  formally  enter  upon  the  discussion  of  the  sub- 
jects to  be  submitted  to  it,  I  am  instructed  by  the  President  to  invite  all  the 
delegates  to  be  the  guests  of  the  Government  during  a  proposed  visit  to  various 


sections  of  the  country,  with  the  double  view  of  showing  to  our  friends  from 
abroad  the  condition  of  the  United  States,  and  of  giving  to  our  people  in  their 
homes  the  privilege  and  pleasure  of  extending  the  warm  welcome  of  Americans 
to  Americans." 

The  foregoing  address  of  Mr.  Blaine,  delivered  while  holding  the  office  of 
Secretary  of  Stat:-  has  special  significance.  It  is  the  highest  expression  of  his 
highest  purposes  as  a  statesman.  Mr.  Blaine's  political  and  public  life  may 
almost  be  regarded  as  summarized  in  these  two  or  three  pages  of  his  opening 
speech  before  the  delegates  to  the  International  American  Conference.  It 
expresses  the  genius  and  inner  sense  of  the  man.  He  is  here,  at  his  best 
estate.  He  here  speaks  from  the  mind  and  heart  outwards.  He  is  here  in  his 
true  element.  We  dwell  upon  it  and  emphasize  it  in  order  that  the  reader 
may  catch  the  spirit  of  it  and  understand  Blaine  as  he  was  in  the  day  of  his 

It  will  be  noted,  from  Mr.  Blaine's  address,  that  "  eighteen  independent 
American  Powers "  are  addressed.  As  a  matter  of  fact,  only  thirteen  States 
were  represented  by  their  delegates  at  the  opening  of  the  Conference.  These 
were :  Bolivia,  Brazil,  Colombia,  Costa  Rica,  Guatemala,  Honduras,  Mexico, 
Nicaragua,  Peru,  Salvador,  the  United  States  of  North  America,  Uruguay  and 
Venezuela.  The  number  of  delegates  present  was  in  all  twenty-six.  These 
were :  For  Bolivia,  Juan  F.  Velarde ;  for  Brazil,  Lafayette  Rodrigues  Pereirar 
J.  G.  do  Amaral  Valente,  Salvador  de  Mendonca;  for  Colombia,  Jose  M.  Hurtado, 
Carlos  Martinez  Silva,  Climaco  Calderon ;  for  Costa  Rica,  Manuel  Aragon ;  for 
Guatemala,  Fernando  Crux  ;  for  Honduras,  Jeronimo  Zelaya ;  for  Mexico,  Matias 
Romero ;  for  Nicaragua,  Horatio  Guzeman ;  for  Peru,  F.  C.  C.  Zegarra ;  for 
Salvador,  Jacinto  Castellanos ;  for  the  United  States,  John  B.  Henderson,  Clement 
Studebaker,  Cornelius  N.  Bliss,  T.  Jefferson  Coolidge,  John  F.  Hanson,  William 
Henry  Trescot,  Morris  M.  Estee,  Henry  G.  Davis,  Charles  R.  Flint;  for  Uru- 
guay, Alberto  Nin  ;   for  Venezuela,  Nicanor  Bolet  Peraza,  Jose  Andrade. 

To  the  foregoing  members  of  the  Conference  were  presently  added :  From 
Hayti,  Arthur  Laforestrie,  Hannibal  Price ;  from  the  Argentine  Republic, 
Roque  Saenz  Pena,  Manuel  Quintana  ;  from  Paraguay,  Jose  S.  Decoud  ;  from  Chili, 
Emilio  C.  Varas,  Jose  Alafonso ;  from  Ecuador,  Jose  Maria  Placido  Caamano. 

In  the  matter  of  organization  it  might  well  have  been  foreseen  who  would 
be  chosen  presiding  officer.  That  person  was,  out  of  the  nature  of  the  case, 
James  G  Blaine,  Secretary  of  State.  The  organization  was  completed  by  the 
choice  of  William  Elory  Curtis  as  executive  officer,  together  with  a  disbursing 
officer,  sergeants-at-arms,  surgeon,  consulting  engineer,  official  interpreters, 
publication  clerk,  translators,  official  stenographers,  stenographers,  messengers, 
pages,  etc.  The  Congress  was  thus  set  forth  in  full  form,  and  by  the  seventh 
of  December,  1889,  was  enabled  to  report  the  division  of  its  work  and  to  assigi 
the  same  to  the  following  committees : — Executive  Committee,  Committee  01 
Customs  Unions,  Committee  on   Communication  on    the  Atlantic,  Committee  on  j 

178  LIFE   AND   WORK   OF  JAMES   G.    BLAINE. 

Coinniuuication  on  the  Pacific,  Committee  on  Communication  on  the  Gulf  of 
Mexico  and  the  Caribbean  Sea,  Committee  on  Railway  Communication, 
Committee  on  Customs  Relations,  Committee  on  Port  Dues,  Committee  on 
Weights  and-  Measures,  Committee  on  Sanitary  Regulations,  Committee  on 
Patents  and  Trade  Marks,  Committee  on  Extradition,  Committee  on  Monetary 
Convention,  Committee  on  Banking,  Committee  on  International  Law,  Committee 
on  the  General  Welfare. 

The  above  may  serve  to  give  the  reader  an  adequate  notion  of  the  extent 
and  variety  of  the  subjects  which  were  to  be  considered  by  the  International 
Conference.  The  volumes  which  have  been  issued  by  the  Department  of  State 
are  made  up,  for  the  most  part,  of  the  reports  of  the  foregoing  sixteen  general 
committees  and  of  the  discussions  thereon.  Space  forbids  us,  in  this  connection, 
to  enter  extensively  into  the  consideration  of  the  reports  referred  to,  or  of  the 
discussions  which  followed  on  the  reports.  The  Committee  on  Weights  and 
Measures  made  its  report  on  the  fifteenth  of  January,  1890.  The  principal  item 
in  the  same  was  that  which  gave  approval  to  the  metric  system  of  weights  and 
measures,  and  recommended  the  adoption  of  the  same  by  the  Conference  as  an 
expression  to  influence  legislation  in  the  various  countries  represented.  The 
conclusion  of  the  report  is  worthy  of  notice  : — 

"  Recently  the  United  States  Government  received  official  fac-similes  of  the 
meter  and  kilogram  agreed  upon  in  the  International  Metrical  Conference  held 
in  Paris,  in  September  of  last  year ;  and  the  boxes  containing  them  were  officially 
opened  on  the  second  instant  at  the  Executive  Mansion,  in  the  presence  of  the 
President  of  the  Republic  and  other  functionaries  and  certain  distinguished 
personages,  especially  invited  for  the  ceremony. 

"  The  advantage  which  the  metrical  decimal  system  offers,  being  so  evident, 
and  that  system  having  been  already  adopted  by  so  considerable  a  number  of 
nations,  your  committee  recommend — 

"That  the  International  American  Conference  proposes  to  all  the  Governments 
here  represented  that  its  use  be  made  obligatory,  both  in  their  commercial  rela- 
tions and  in  all  that  relates  to  the  sciences  and  the  industrial  arts. 

"Jacinto  Castellanos, 
"  Clement  Studebaker." 

The  foregoing  report  and  recommendation  was  amended  with  a  substitute 
offered  by  Matias  Romero,  of  Mexico,  as  follows  : — 

"  Resolved,  That  the  International  American  Conference  recommends  the 
adoption  of  the  metrical  decimal  system  to  the  nations  here  represented,  which 
have  not  already  accepted  it." 

The  debates  on  the  report  were  interesting  and  extended,  resulting  on  the 
twenty-fourth  of  January,  1890,  in  the  adoption  of  the  recommendation  as 
expressed  in  the  amendment  of  Mr.  Romero. 

The  Committee  on  Intercontinental  Railways  was  next  to  submit  its  report,' 
which  was  made  on  the  twenty-first  of  February,  and  discussed  on  the  twenty-sixth ; 

LIFE   AND   WORK   OF  JAMES   G.   BLAINE.  179 

The  report  was  of  great  interest,  declaring,  first  of  all,  that  a  railway, 
connecting  all  or  the  majority  of  the  nations  represented  in  the  Conference, 
would  contribute  greatly  to  the  development  of  cordial  relations  between  said 
nations  and  the  growth  of  their  material  interests.  The  second  recommendation 
was  for  the  appointment  of  an  international  commission  of  engineers  to  ascertain 
the  possible  routes,  to  determine  their  true  length,  to  estimate  the  cost  of  each 
and  to  compare  their  respective  advantages.  Space  forbids  the  repetition  of  the 
matter  contained  in  the  sixteen  general  recommendations  made  by  the  committee. 
A  few  amendments  were  made  and  the    report  was  adopted. 

Next  came  the  report  of  the  majority  and  the  minority  of  the  Committee  on 
Customs  Unions.  The  former  was  presented  with  the  signatures  of  the  representa- 
tives of  Brazil,  Mexico,  Colombia,  Nicaragua,  Venezuela  and  the  United  States. 
The  minority  report  was  signed  by  the  representatives  of  Chili  and  the  Argentine 
Republic.  The  discussion  upon  the  reports  was  held  on  the  fifteenth  of  March, 
1890.  The  debate  took  the  general  form  of  a  controversy  respecting  free  trade 
as  a  policy  among  the  American  nations.  It  extended  from  day  to  day  until 
the  twelfth  of  April,  when  the  minority  report  was  rejected  by  a  vote  of  eleven 
to  five.  Such  were  the  difficulties  of  the  subject  under  consideration  that  the 
report  of  the  majority  was  finally  reduced  to  the  following  form,  which  was 
adopted  on  the  date  last  mentioned  : — 

"  To  recommend  to  such  of  the  Governments  represented  in  the  Conference 
as  may  be  interested  in  the  concluding  of  partial  reciprocity,  commercial  treaties, 
and  to  negotiate  such  treaties  with  one  or  more  of  the  American  countries,  as  it 
may  in  their  interest  to  make  them,  under  such  a  basis  as  may  be  acceptable 
in  each  case,  taking  into  consideration  the  special  situation,  conditions,  and  inter- 
ests of  each  country,  and  with  a  view  to  promote  their  common  welfare." 

This  report  as  finally  adopted  by  the  Conference  well  illustrates  the  irre- 
pressible conflict  going  on  among  the  nations  between  the  advocates  and  the 
opponents  of  free  trade.  The  question  will  not  down.  It  would  appear  that 
every  intelligent  human  being,  and  many  that  are  not  intelligent,  are  born  with 
certain  prejudices  on  this  question,  that  act,  as  it  were,  a  priori  in  determining  the 
future  judgments  of  the  persons  concerned.  It  is  like  every  other  question  that  begins 
with  assumptions.  It  has  something  in  it  of  the  same  difficulty  and  inscrut- 
ableness  which  we  know  in  the  old  philosophical  and  religious  debates  of  the 
middle  ages.  It  sometimes  seems  to  be  the  doctrine  of  free  trade  will  come  again 
for  decision.  It  may  be  doubted  whether  the  most  enlightened  people  in  the 
world  have  to-day  any  really  clear  and  definite  thought  on  this  question  of 
free  trade  among  the  nations.  Clearly  England  is  one  of  the  most  enlightened  and 
successful  countries.  She  long  had  a  system  of  protection,  but  this,  within  the 
present  century,  she  abandoned  for  the  principle  and  practice  of  free  trade.  Clearly 
she  has  flourished  and  grown  great,  if  not  supreme,  by  this  method.  She  has  become 
the  evangelist  of  free  trade  among  the  nations.  And  this  fact,  instead  of  con- 
firming our  belief  in  the  good  policy  of  her  system,  tends  rather  to  shake  our 

180  LIFE   AND   WORK   OF  JAMES   G.    BLAINE. 

confidence  in  it.  For  if  Great  Britain  thought  it  to  be  of  advantage  to  her 
competitors  that  they  should  become,  like  herself,  free-trade  nations,  would  she, 
in  that  event,  try  to  persuade  them  to  become  such  ?  Has  she  been  wont  to 
give  such  advice  as  that  ?  When  did  she  seek  the  interest  of  any  save  her  own  ? 
On  the  other  hand,  if  Great  Britain  believed  that  the  adoption  of  free  trade  by 
the  nations  that  compete  with  her  for  the  commerce  of  the  world  would  be 
injured  thereby,  with  the  general  result  of  a  gain  to  herself,  is  it  not  part  and 
parcel  of  her  spirit  and  history  to  advise  that  that  very  policy  should  be  pursued  ? 
Indeed,  we  fear  the  old  Greek,  even  when  she  brings  her  gifts  ! 

Here  in  the  International  American  Conference,  the  question  was  renewed 
under  conditions  that  might  have  seemed  to  favor  the  establishment  of  some 
concurrent  opinion.  Instead  of  doing  so,  however,  the  whole  debate  degenerated 
and  issued  in  the  adoption  of  an  inconsequential  resolution,  which  might  do 
credit  to  an  American  political  party  in  convention  assembled.  It  is  as  though 
the  Congress  should  say  to  the  nations  :  If  you  desire  to  be  free-trade  nations, 
or  protective  nations,  or  reciprocal  nations,  in  whole  or  in  part,  to  any  extent  or 
any  degree,  or  under  any  conditions,  or  no  conditions  at  all — why,  then,  to  that 
extent,  and  in  that  manner,  and  to  that  degree,  do  as  you  want  to  do,  and  don't 
do  as    you    don't  want  to  do :  for  that  will  be  best ! 

The  next  committee  to  report  was  that  appointed  to  consider  "  Communi- 
cation on  the  Atlantic."  The  subject  had  respect  only  to  such  nations  as  were 
represented  in  the  Conference  and  whose  territories  bordered  on  the  Atlantic 
waters.  The  report  recommended,  in  the  first  place,  that  the  Governments 
represented  should  give  aid  to  one  or  more  lines  of  steam  navigation  between 
the  ports  of  the  United  States  and  those  of  Brazil  and  Rio  de  la  Platta.  The 
second  recommendation  was  that  for  the  establishment,  by  governmental  aid,  of 
a  fast  bi-monthly  service  of  steam  navigation  between  the  ports  of  the  United 
States,  Rio  Janeiro,  Montevideo  and  Buenos  Ayres.  The  third  recommendation 
considered  the  quarantine  regulations  which  should  be  adopted  to  prevent  the 
dissemination  of  infection.  The  fourth  established  the  speed  at  which  the  steam- 
ships of  the  said  lines  should  proceed. 

The  next  paragraph  related  to  auxiliar}?-  lines  of  freight  steamers  between 
the  ports  of  the  United  States  and  those  of  the  Atlantic  South  American 
countries.  So,  through  a  series  of  recommendations,  extending  to  fifteen,  the 
report  continued,  covering  many  valuable  and  interesting  suggestions  for  the 
improvement  of  commerce  between  the  countries  of  the  Atlantic  seaboard,  whose 
representatives  sat  in  the  Conference.  The  report  was  submitted  on  the  twenty- 
third  of  March,  1890,  and  on  the  following  day  the  discussion  began,  resulting 
in  the  adoption  of  the  report  by  a  unanimous  vote. 

This  was  followed  by  the  report  of  the  corresponding  committee  for  the 
consideration  of  "  Communication  on  the  Pacific."  This  also  covered  a  great 
variety  of  subjects,  extending  to  nine  recommendations  from  the  committee,  with 
special    reports  appended   on    telegraphic  communication,  postal   communication, 

182  LIFE   AND   WORK    OF  JAMES   G.   BLAINE. 

etc.  To  this  was  added  an  elaborate  appendix  prepared  by  Hon.  M.  M.  Estee, 
of  California,  on  "The  Commerce  on  the  Pacific  Coast."  The  discussion  of  the 
reports  began  on  tbe  twenty-fourth  of  March  and  was  concluded  by  a  unanimous 
adoption,  together  with  the  following  especial  recommendation  : 

"  The  International  American  Conference  resolves  :  To  recommend  to  the 
Governments  of  the  countries  bordering  on  the  Pacific  Ocean  to  promote  among 
themselves  maritime,  telegraphic  and  postal  communications,  taking  into  con- 
sideration, as  far  as  is  compatible  with  their  own  interests,  the  propositions 
formulated  in  the  report  of   the  Committee  on  Communications  on  the  Pacific." 

Meanwhile,  the  Committee  on  "  Communication  on  the  Gulf  of  Mexico  and 
the  Caribbean  Sea"  made  its  report,  covering  the  subjects  of  telegraphic  and 
postal  communication,  communication  with  Hayti,  Venezuela,  Colombia,  Central 
America  and  Mexico.  The  report  was  elaborate,  covering  the  whole  question  of 
transportation  facilities  among  the  States  referred  to. 

On  the  nineteenth  of  February,  1S90,  the  Committee  on  "  Customs  Regu- 
lation "  made  its  report  and  the  discussion  immediately  ensued  with  the  unani- 
mous adoption.     The  recommendation  from   the  committee  was  as  follows  : — 

"Resolved,  That  the  International  American  Conference  recommends  to  the 
Governments  represented  therein  the  adoption  of  a  common  nomenclature,  which 
shall  designate,  in  alphabetical  order  in  equivalent  terms,  in  English,  Portuguese 
and  Spanish,  the  commodities  on  which  import  duties  are  levied,  to  be  used 
respectively  by  all  the  American  nations,  for  the  purpose  of  levying  customs 
imposts,  which  are  or  may  be  hereafter  established,  and  also  to  be  used  in 
shipping  manifests,  consular  invoices,  entries,  clearance  petitions  and  other 
customs  documents;  but  not  to  affect  in  any  manner  the  right  of  each  nation 
to  levy  the  import  duties  now  in  force  or  which  may  hereafter  be  established." 

The  foregoing  report  was  followed  by  a  second  from  the  same  committee, 
under  date  of  March  29,  1S90.  This  had  respect  to  the  classification  and  valua- 
tion of  merchandise.  The  document  and  the  discussion  thereon  were  long  and 
interesting,  resulting  in  a  vote  unanimously  in  favor  of  the  recommendations  of 
the  committee.  The  same  body  followed  up  its  work  by  a  third  report  favoring 
the  establishment  of  an  International  Bureau  of  Information,  and  this  called  out 
a  second  discussion  which,  on  the  fourteenth  of  April,  1S90,  also  resulted  in  a 
unanimous  vote  in  favor  of  the  committee's  recommendations.  The  debate  on 
"  Harbor  Fees  and  Regulations,"  concerning  which  a  paper  was  presented  by 
the  same  committee,  was  one  of  the  most  extensive  of  the  whole  Congress  and 
one  of  the  most  practically  important.  On  the  tenth  of  April,  1890,  the  report 
was  finally  called  up  by  Mr.  Studebaker,  one  of  the  delegates  from  the  United 
States  and  was  adopted. 

The  next  committee  to  submit  its  report  was  that  on  "  Sanitary  Regulations." 
This  consisted  of  a  report  in  chief  and  of  an  elaborate  appendix,  embracing  the 
results  reached  in  the  Convention  of  Rio  Janeiro  and  also  in  the  Convention  of 
Lima.     The  discussion  on  the  subjects  presented  began  at  the  session  of  February 

LIFE   AND   WORK  OF  JAMES   G.    BLAINE.  183 

>8,  1890.  At  the  end  of  the  debates  the  report  of  the  Committee  on  "  Sanitary 
Regulations "  was  approved  by  a  majority  of  thirteen  votes  to  two  in  the 
negative.       The  latter  were  cast  by  the  Delegates  of  Mexico  and  Chili. 

It  were  long  to  summarize  the  entire  proceedings  of  the  International 
American  Conference  or  to  present  its  results  even  in  the  briefest  form.  We 
must,  within  the  limitations  of  our  space,  content  ourselves  with  certain  general 
features  of  the  Congress  and  with  very  short  epitomes  of  the  acts  and  recom- 
mendations of  the  body.  On  the  nineteenth  of  February,  1890,  the  Committee 
on  "  Patents  and  Trade-marks  "  made  its  report.  The  recommendations  sent  in 
to  the  general  session  were  as  follows  : — 

"  Whereas,  the  International  American  Conference  is  of  the  opinion  that  the 
treaties  on  literary  and  artistic  property,  on  patents,  and  on  trade-marks,  cele- 
brated by  the  Southern  American  Congress  of  Montevideo,  fully  guarantee  and 
protect  the  rights  of  property  which  are  the  subject  of  the  provisions  therein 
contained : 

"  Resolved,  That  the  Conference  recommend,  both  to  those  Governments  of 
America  which  accepted  the  proposition  of  holding  the  Congress,  but  could  not 
participate  in  its  deliberations,  and  to  those  not  invited  thereto,  but  who  are 
represented  in  this  Conference,  that  they  adopt  the  said    treaties." 

To  this  report  and  recommendation  was  added  an  elaborate  appendix  on  the 
subject  of  "  Literary  and  Artistic  Copyright."  The  subject  is  so  vast  and  the 
appendix  so  varied  in  its  treatment  of  the  same  that  we  must  pass  them  to 
note  the  brief  recommendation  adopted  by  the  Conference  on  the  third  of  March, 
1S90,  as  follows : 

Whereas,  the  International  American  Conference  is  of  the  opinion  that  the 
treaties  on  literary  and  artistic  property,  on  patents  and  on  trade-marks,  celebrated 
by  the  South  American  Congress  of  Montevideo,  fully  guarantee  and  protect 
the  rights  of  property  which  are  the  subject  of  the  provisions  therein  contained: 

"  Resolved,  That  the  Conference  recommend,  both  to  those  governments  of 
America  which  accepted  the  proposition  of  holding  the  Congress,  but  could  not 
participate  in  its  deliberations,  and  to  those  not  invited  thereto,  but  who  are 
represented  in  this  Conference,   that  they  adopt  the  said  treaties." 

The  next  in  order  followed  the  report  of  the  Committee  on  "  The  Extra- 
dition of  Criminals."  In  this  it  was  proposed  to  have  adopted,  among  the 
nations,  a  treaty  on  an  International  Penal  Law.  For  this  purpose  a  tentative 
statute  of  fifty-one  articles  was  prepared  and  submitted  to  the  Conference.  The 
discussion  of  the  given  subjects  was  taken  up  on  the  fourteenth  of  April,  1890, 
and  was  continued  from  day  to  day  until  the  decision  was  reached. 

On  the  twelfth  of  March,  1890,  the  Committee  on  "  International  American 
Monetary  Union  "  made  its  report.  The  discussion  of  this  was  undertaken  on 
the  twenty-fifth  of  March  and  was  continued  with  great  spirit.  The  fundamen- 
tal question  in  the  debates  was  found  in  the  sixth  article  of  the  report  of  the 
committee,  which  was  to  this  effect : — 

184  LIFE   AND   WORK   OF  JAMES   G.    BLAINE. 

"  The  adoption  of  a  common  silver  coin  to  be  issued  by  each  Government, 
the  same  to  be  legal  tender  in  all  commercial  transactions  between  the  citizens 
of  all  the  American   States." 

Here,  indeed,  was  a  bone  of  contention.  The  question  of  bi-metallisin  came 
up.  Quot  homines,  tot  sciitcnticr.  The  issue  which  had  been  uppermost  for 
many  years  in  the  United  States,  and  which  has  continued  to  the  present  time 
to  divide  the  people,  sprang  full  armed,  and  there  was  the  usual  difficulty  in 
reaching  any  adequate  judgment.  There  was  the  same  interested  division  for 
and  against  the  proposed  universal  silver  dollar.  It  appears  strained  that  justice 
and  truth  seem  incapable  of  a  hearing  on  this  subject.  In  our  own  country, 
in  the  face  of  the  notorious  fact  that  the  silver  dollar  is  the  dollar  of  the  law 
and  the  contract,  we  have  had  a  persistent  and  determined  effort  to  dethrone 
it  and  reduce  silver  from  the  rank  of  a  precioits  metal  to  mere  merchandise. 
If,  in  our  country,  we  are  not  able  to  do  justice  to  the  debtor  classes  and  to 
the  producing  interests  on  this  broad  domain,  what  shall  we  expect  when  the 
contrarious  interests,  purposes  and  policies  of  many  nations,  some  of  them  pro- 
ducing no  silver,  are  to  be  taken  into  the  account.  The  question  of  coinage, 
after  all,  is  very  simple.  The  debtor,  if  he  be  honest,  wants  to  pay  according 
to  the  law  and  the  contract ;  that  is,  to  give  to  the  creditor  the  same  dollar 
which  he  promised  to  give.  If  he  be  dishonest,  then  he  wants  to  give  to  the 
creditor  some  other  dollar,  less  in  weight  and  value  than  the  one  which  he 
promised  to  give — as  small,  in  fact,  as  possible,  even  if  it  be  infinitesimal. 
On  the  other  hand,  the  creditor,  if  he  be  honest,  wishes  to  receive  the  dollar 
of  the  law  and  the  contract.  But  if  he  be  dishonest,  he  wants  to  receive  some 
other  dollar,  weighing  more  and  worth  more  than  the  original.  He  wants  this 
other  dollar  to  be  as  big  as  possible — big  as  his  father's  shield  or  the  moon's 
face  itself.  Now,  in  most  countries  and  in  our  age,  the  dishonest  debtors  and 
creditors  far  outnumber  the  honest  ones.  The  result  is  they  do  not  agree  as 
to  what  they  should  pay  and  receive  in  the  liquidation  of  debts.  The  mone- 
metallist  wants  a  dollar  worth  much  more  than  the  dollar  of  the  law  and  the 
contract,  and  many  representing  the  debtor  classes  are  disposed  to  foist  upon 
the  creditor  a  dollar  worth  but  little  or  nothing  at  all  ! 

The  foregoing  was  the  most  extensive  single  debate  before  the  International 
American  Conference.  The  recommendations,  which  are  here  inserted,  show 
strongly  the  political  tinge.  It  is  clear  to  the  reader  that  the  merits  of  the 
question  have  been  in  large  measure  generalized  away.  It  would  be  amusing, 
if  it  were  not  pitiable,  to  note  the  expedients  to  which  the  human  mind,  acting 
under  the  dominion  of  political  forces,  is  driven  in  its  flirtation  with  truth  and 
falsehood.  The  mind,  in  such  a  case,  would  fain  have  the  truth  ;  it  must  needs 
be  content  with  the  false.     With  either  it  might  be  content — 

"  Were  t'other  dear  charmer  away  !  " 

The  recommendations  of  the  committee  were  finally  as  follows  : — "  The 
International    American    Conference    is    of  opinion    that   great  advantages  would 

LIFE   AND   WORK   OF  JAMES   G.   BLAINE.  185 

accrue  to  the  commerce  between  the  nations  of  this  continent  by  the  use  of  a 
coin  or  coins  that  would  be  current  at  the  same  value  'in  all  the  countries 
represented  in  this  Conference,'  and  therefore  recommends  : — 

"  i.  That  an  International  American  Monetary  Union  be  established. 

"  2.  That  as  a  basis  for  this  union,  an  international  coin  or  coins  be  issued 
which  shall  be  uniform  in  weight  and  fineness,  and  which  may  be  used  in  all 
countries  represented  in  this  Conference. 

"  3.  That  to  give  full  effect  to  this  recommendation,  there  shall  meet  in 
Washington  a  commission  composed  of  one  delegate  or  more  from  each  nation 
represented  in  this  Conference,  which  shall  consider  the  quantity,  the  kind  of 
currency,  the  uses  it  shall  have  and  the  value  and  proportion  of  the  international 
silver  coin  or  coins  and  their  relations  to  gold. 

"  4.  That  the  Government  of  the  United  States  shall  invite  the  commission 
to  meet  in  Washington  within  a  year  to  be  counted  from  the  date  of  the 
adjournment  of  this  Conference." 

The  reader  will  excuse  the  travesty,  but  this  report  of  the  Committee, 
adopted  as  the  best  attainable  thing,  was — and  is — virtually  equivalent  to  the 
following : — 

"  The  International  American  Conference  is  of  the  opinion  that  sunshine  is 
a  beautiful  and  useful  commodity  to  the  world,  and  that  spring  rains  in  their 
season  tend  to  make  fruitful  fields.     Therefore,  we  recommend : — 

"  1.  That  an  International  Sun-and-Rain  Union  be  established. 

"  2.  That  as  a  basis  for  this  union,  a  uniform  amount  of  both  sunshine 
and  rain,  according  to  the  season,  be  recommended  to  the  various  countries 
represented  in  this  Congress. 

"  3.  That,  in  order  to  make  effective  this  recommendation,  a  second  Sun- 
and-Rain  Committee  be  invited  to  meet  in  Washington,  who  shall  further  con- 
sider the  quantity  of  sunshine  and  the  amount  of  rainfall  requisite  for  the 
interests  of  vegetation  and  their  proper  combination. 

"  4.  That  the  Government  of  the  United  States  shall,  within  a  year,  invite 
the  said  Sun-and-Rain  Committee  to  meet  in  the  city  of  Washington  for  the 
promotion  of  the  interests  hidden  somewhere  in  its  existence." 

But  the  honorable  committee  did  the  best  it  could,  under  the  circum- 
stances ;  for,  for  the  time,  the  question  was  unsolvable.  That  is,  it  was  unsolvable 
without  telling  the  truth,  and  the  truth  could  not  be  told  on  account  of  the 
political  conditions  present  in  the  United  States  and  in  other  coxintries  represented 
in  the  Conference.  ' 

The  next  committee  to  report  its  work  was  that  appointed  to  consider  an 
"  International  American  Bank."  This  subject  also  was  dangerous.  It  resulted 
in  a  majority  and  a  minority  report,  both  of  which  were  submitted  to  the  Con- 
ference on  the  eighth  of  April,  1890.  The  first  was  signed  by  the  representatives 
from  Colombia,  the  United  States  of  North  America  and  Brazil,  and  the  second 
was  signed  by  Mr.  Emilio  C.  Varas,  delegate  from  Chili.     The  discussions  were 

186  LIFE   AND   WORK   OF  JAMES   G.    BLAINE. 

lengthy,   taKing    up  'the    time    of    the    sessions   of    April    ix,    12    and   13.     The 
action  finally  agreed  upon  was  summarized  in  the  following  recommendation  : — 

"Resolved,  That  the  Conference  recommends  to  the  Governments  here 
represented  the  granting  of  liberal  concessions  to  facilitate  inter-American  bank- 
ing, and  especially  such  as  may  be  necessary  for  the  establishment  of  an  Inter- 
national American  Bank,  with  branches  or  agencies  in  the  several  countries 
represented  in  this  Conference." 

One  of  the  most  important  subjects  before  the  body  was  that  of  "  Private 
International  Law."  The  committee  having  this  subject  in  hand  made  its  report 
on  the  twenty -first  of  February,  1S90,  and  the  discussion  was  continued  for  several 
sessions.  The  report  presented  a  trial  statute  for  a  proposed  Treaty  on  "  Interna- 
tional Civil  Law,"  extending  to  seventy-one  articles,  with  an  appendix  of  fifty-two 
articles  and  a  second  appendix  on  the  "  Law  of  Procedure,"  of  sixteen  articles. 

Following  this  came,  on  the  twelfth  of  April,  1890,  the  report  of  the  Com- 
mittee on  "  Claims  and  Diplomatic  Intervention."  Of  this  there  was  a  majority 
and  a  minority  report.  The  same  was  true  of  the  reports  of  the  Committee  on 
"  Navigation  of  Rivers."  On  the  latter  subject  the  discussions  were  held  on  the 
eighteenth  of  April,   1890,  and  resulted  in  the  following  recommendations  : — 

"  (1)  That  rivers  which  separate  several  States,  or  which  bathe  their  terri- 
tory, shall  be  open  to  the  free  navigation  of  the  merchant  marine  or  ships  of 
war  of  riparian  nations. 

"  (2)  That  this  declaration  shall  not  affect  the  jurisdiction  nor  the 
sovereignty  of  any  of  the  riparian  nations,  either  in  time  of  peace  or  war." 

None  of  the  sub-committees  of  the  Conference  was  more  important  than  that 
appointed  to  consider  a  "  Plan  of  Arbitration."  The  question  of  arbitrating 
difficulties  among  nations  has  arisen  from  time  to  time  since  the  revival  of 
civilization.  All  the  enlightened  peoples  have  felt  that  sooner  or  later  reason 
must  be  substituted  for  war  in  the  adjustment  of  questions  at  issue  among 
themselves.  The  Committee  on  Plan  of  Arbitration  made  its  report  on  the  ninth 
of  April,  1890.  It  consisted  of  a  sort  of  international  constitution  of  nineteen 
articles,  covering  the  whole  ground  of  arbitration  and  prescribing  the  rules  by 
which  the  same  should  be  attained  among  the  Republics  of  North,  Central  and 
South  America.  The  discussion  of  this  vast  subject  was  undertaken  on  the 
fourteenth  of  April,  1890.  It  extended  through  many  days;  was  marked  with 
great  ability  and  tended  to  a  practical  result.  This  was  reached  in  the  adoption 
of  a  plan  of  arbitration  for  the  countries  represented  in  the  Conference.  The 
plan  itself  was  an  amended  and  improved  form  of  the  constitution  reported  by 
the  committee,  and  though  too  long  for  insertion  here,  is  worthy  of  the  reference 
and  interest  of  the  reader.* 

On  the  twentieth  of  January,  1890,  the  Conference  considered  a  proposed 
"  Recommendation  to  European  Powers,"  bearing  on  the  question  of  arbitration 
and  resulting  in  the  following  action  : — 

*See  "International  American  Conference"  (published  by  the  Department  of  State),  1S92,  Volume  II,  p.  1078. 

LIFE   AND   WORK   OF  JAMES   G.    BLAINE.  187 

"  The  International  American  Conference  resolves :  That  this  Conference, 
having  recommended  arbitration  for  the  settlement  of  disputes  among  the 
Republics  of  America,  begs  leave  to  express  the  wish  that  controversies  between 
them  and  the  nations  of  Europe  may  be  settled  in  the  same   friendly  manner. 

"It  is  further  recommended  that  the  government  of  each  nation  herein  repre- 
sented communicate  this  wish  to  all  friendly  powers." 

The  Committee  on  General  Welfare  made,  on  the  eighteenth  of  April,  a 
supplementary  report  on  "  The  Right  of  Conquest,"  which,  after  discussion, 
was  finished  with  a  series  of  recommendations  against  spoliation  and  violence 
among  the  nations.  This  was  followed  on  the  same  day  with  miscellaneous 
resolutions  and  closing  ceremonies.  There  was  a  proposition  for  an  Inter- 
national Memorial  Library,  another  project  for  a  Colombian  Exposition,  and 
then  the  proceedings  of  the  Conference  were  brought  to  a  close  by  the  president, 
James  G.  Blaine,  in   a 


Gentlemen  : — I  withhold  for  a  moment  the  word  of  final  adjournment,  in 
order  that  I  may  express  to  you  the  profound  satisfaction  with  which  the 
Government  of  the  United  States  regards  the  work  that  has  been  accomplished 
by  the  International  American  Conference.  The  importance  of  the  subjects 
which  has  claimed  your  attention,  the  comprehensive  intelligence  and  watchful 
patriotism  which  you  have  brought  to  their  discussion,  must  challenge  the 
confidence  and  secure  the  admiration  of  the  Governments  and  peoples  whom  you 
represent ;  while  that  larger  patriotism  which  constitutes  the  fraternity  of  nations 
has  received  from  you  an  impulse  such  as  the  world  has  not  before  seen. 

The  extent  and  value  of  all  that  has  been  achieved  by  your  Conference 
cannot  be  measured  to-day.  We  stand  too  near  it.  Time  will  define  and 
heighten  the  estimate  of  your  work ;  experience  will  confirm  our  present  pace  ; 
final  results  will  be  your  vindication  and  your  triumph. 

If,  in  this  closing  hour,  the  Conference  had  but  one  deed  to  celebrate,  we 
should  dare  call  the  world's  attention  to  the  deliberate,  confident,  solemn  dedi- 
cation of  two  great  continents  to  peace,  and  to  the  prosperity  which  has  peace 
for  its  foundation.  We  hold  up  this  new  Magna  Charta,  which  abolishes  war 
and  substitutes  arbitration  between  the  American  Republics,  as  the  first  and 
great  fruit  of  the  International  American  Conference.  That  noblest  of  Ameri- 
cans, the  aged  poet  and  philanthropist,  Whittier,  is  the  first  to  send  his  saluta- 
tion and  benediction,   declaring, 

"  If  in  the  spirit  of  peace  the  American  Conference  agrees  upon  a  rule  of 
arbitration  which  shall  make  war  in  this  hemisphere  well  nigh  impossible,  its 
sessions  will  prove  one  of  the  most  important  events  in  the  history  of  the 

I  am  instructed  by  the  President  to  express  the  wish  that,  before  the 
members  of  the  Conference  shall  leave  for  their  distant  homes,  they  will  accept 
the  hospitality  of  the    United    States  in  a  visit    to  the   Southern  section  of  the 



Union,  similar  to  the  one  they  have  already  made  to  the  Eastern  and  Western 
sections.  The  President  trusts  that  the  tour  will  not  only  be  a  pleasant  incident 
of  your  farewell  to  the  country,  but  that  you  will  find  advautage  in  a  visit  to 
so  interesting  and  important  part  of  our  Republic. 

May  I  express  to  you,  gentlemen,  my  deep  appreciation  of  the  honor  you 
did  me  in  calling  me  to  preside  over  your  deliberations.  Your  kindness  has 
been  unceasing,  and  for  j^our  formal  words  of  approval  I  offer  you  my  sincerest 

Invoking  the  blessing  of  Almighty  God  upon  the  patriotic  and  fraternal 
work  which  has  been  here  begun  for  the  good  of  mankind,  I  now  declare  the 
American  International  Conference  adjourned  without  day." 

The  International  American  Conference  of  1890  is  the  monument  of  James 
G.  Blaine.  That  body  and  work  more  fully  than  any  other  part  of  current  history 
expressed — and  still  expresses — the  genius,  purpose  and  hope  of  the  statesman. 
It  shows  Blaine  at  his  best  estate.  His  name  is  destined  to  be  forever  asso- 
ciated, not  only  with  the  Conference  itself,  but  with  those  vast  results  which  it 
may  bear  as  the  elements  of  progress  are  born  in  the  capacious  bosom  of  time. 
He  was  proud  of  his  great  Congress,  and  its  pride  in  him  was  shared  by  the 
American  people.  It  was  the  beginning  of  that  epoch  in  his  life  when  he  stood 
no  l«nger  for  a  single  party  of  his  countrymen,  but  for  both  parties  and  all 
parties  alike.  From  that  event  his  spirit  began  more  and  more,  until  the  day 
of  his  death,  to  predominate  over  the  opinions  and  impulses  of  the  mighty 
nation  which  had  given  him  birth  and  brought  him  to  the  stature  of  greatness. 



NE  of    the   most   interesting   episodes    in    Mr.    Blaine's 
career  was  that  of  the  Paris  letter  on  the   tariff.      Its 
production,    as    well   as     its    substance,  happily    illus- 
trates   the    temper    and    genius    of   the  man.      It  was 
in    December    of     1887     that     the    letter    referred     to 
was    produced.      The    circumstances    of    its    production 
have    in    them    the    roots    of   a    good    deal    of    current 
political  history.     It    was  at    this  juncture    that  Presi- 
dent Cleveland,  then  in  the  third  year  of  his    admin- 
istration,   made    his    remarkable    coup    on    the    tariff    question. 
A    large    surplus     had     accumulated     in     the     treasury.       The 
schedule    of  duties    on    the    protected    articles    of  the   American 
market  was  high,  averaging  about   forty-seven    per  cent    on    the 
whole  of  the  commodities  included  in  the  tariff  list. 

The  existence  of  such  a  fact  in  the  industrial  and,  indeed, 
the  whole  economic  life  of  the  people  of  the  United  States 
must  needs  provoke  much  controversy.  Many  other  questions 
came  in  for  their  share  of  public  concern.  Up  to  this  period 
it  could  hardly  be  said  that  the  tariff  issue  was  predominant 
over  all  others.  At  the  opening  of  the  congressional  session,  in  December  of 
1887,  the  President,  departing  from  the  usual  custom,  cast  aside  all  other 
questions  of  governmental  and  political  interest  and  took  up  in  his  message 
the  sole  issue  of  the  tariff.  He  attacked  the  whole  system  and  recommended, 
if  not  the  positive  abolition,  at  least  the  essential  modification  and  abatement 
of  the  protective  policy. 

The  message  was  something  of  a  bomb.  The  strength  of  the  document 
could  hardly  be  doubted.  The  measure  was  a  daring  innovation.  It  was  in 
the  nature  of  an  attack  on  established  opinion.  The  President's  own  party 
was  by  no  means,  at  that  juncture,  a  free  trade  party.  The  Republican 
party  was  certainly  committed  in  a  general  way  to  protection.  Apart  from  all 
politics,  there  had  grown  up  a  vast  manufacturing  interest  in  the  United 
States  under  the  aegis  of  protection,  and  perhaps  stimulated  into  existence 
thereby.  Certainly  the  whole  manufacturing  system  was  adjusted  to  the 
existing  tariff  and  might  almost  be  said  to  be  a  part  of  it.  The  attack  of 
President  Cleveland  was  therefore  virtually  against  the  stimulated  industry 
and  ostensibly  in  favor  of  the  general  producing   interests    of  the  country.     To 



this  question  all  the  message  was  devoted.  The  paper  was  a  sensation,  both 
in  Congress  and  out  of  Congress,  in  political  circles,  and,  indeed,  in  all  circles 
whatsoever  of  American  life.  The  message  was  the  unexpected  thing.  For 
the  day  it  took  the  political  breath  away.  Some  said  that  the  President  had 
wrecked  himself.  Others  said  that  he  had  wrecked  both  himself  and  his 
party.  Others  said  that  he  was  a  prophet.  Some  called  him  a  statesman  and 
others  a  madman. 

It  appears  that,  in  the  general  melee,  nobody  thought  of  answering  the 
President's  message ;  that  is,  only  one  man  thought  of  it,  and  that  one  man 
was  James  G.  Blaine.  Of  course,  there  were  answers  galore  ;  but  did  any  of 
them  go  to  the  heart  of  the  question  ?  That  was  doubtful.  It  was  needed  as 
a  stroke  of  Republican  policy  and  leadership  that  somebody  should  at  once 
enter  the  arena  while  the  smoke  of  the  explosion  was  not  yet  dissipated  and 
while  the  walls  were  still  hot,  and  answer    the   President    on    his    own   ground- 

The  circumstances  were  not  such  as  to  lay  this  duty  on  Blaine.  He  was 
at  that  time  living  in  the  French  capital.  He  was  there  occupying  his 
faculties  lightly  and  striving  to  regain  his  health.  It  was  in  the  Blaine 
nature,  however,  to  go  off  suddenly  under  friction.  He  could  take  fire  on 
occasion  as  well  as  any  other  of  our  public  men.  The  wonder  is  that  he  did 
not,  in  virtue  of  his  temperament,  sometimes  take  fire  when  there  was  no 
occasion  at  all.  In  this  instance  there  was  clearly  an  occasion,  and  the  way 
in  which  Blaine,  somewhat  enfeebled  though  he  was,  responded  to  the 
emergency  revealed  at  once  his  great  capacity  and  the  will  which  he  pos- 
sessed to  cope  with  any  foeman,  however  great  his  prowess  and  advantageous 
his  position. 

The  Paris  letter,  which  Blaine  composed  in  answer  to  President  Cleve- 
land's famous  message,  was  telegraphed  to  the  United  States  and  printed  in 
the  New  York  Tribune  in  the  form  of  an  interview  on  the  morning  of  the 
following  day.  The  composition  of  such  a  production  on  such  a  subject  and 
under  such  circumstances  was  a  prodigious  effort  on  the  part  of  a  sick  man, 
more  than  three  thousand  miles  from  his  country.  The  letter  was  composed 
by  Mr.  Blaine  and  given  by  him  to  George  W.  Smalley,  the  Paris  corre- 
spondent of  the   Tribune,  and  by  him  cabled  to  the  home  paper  in   New  York. 

We  are  fortunate  in  possessing  and  being  able  to  reproduce  from  Blaine's 
own  lips  the  story  of  this  letter  and  the  manner  of  his  production.  Near  the 
close  of  his  term  of  service  as  Secretary  of  State  in  the  Harrison  admin- 
istration, he  was  called  upon  by  Mr.  Henry  W.  Knight,  of  Brooklyn,  to 
whom  he  detailed  the  circumstances,  origin  and  production  of  the  Paris  letter. 
Mr.  Knight  had  been  for  some  years  a  personal  friend  of  the  statesman,  and  at 
the  time  indicated  was  in  friendly  converse  with  him  on  a  matter  of  business. 
The  subject  of  the  tariff  letter  came  up  in  connection  with  the  amount  of 
literary  composition  which  a  man  might  well  produce  under  emergency  in  a 
day.     Mr.  Blaine  related  how,  in   Paris,  he    had    known    a    number    of  literary 



men,  who  had  spoken  to  him  about  their  daily  rate  of  production.  But  the 
story  of  the  interview  of  Mr.  Knight  with  the  Secretary  and  the  account 
given  by  the  latter  of  the  Paris  letter  is  best  preserved  in  the  language  of 
the  former  as  he  remembers  and  reproduces  it : 

"  I  called  upon  Mr.  Blaine,"  said  Mr.  Knight,  "  on  the  fifteenth  of  March, 
1892.  At  this  time  he  gave  me  a  photograph  of  himself,  a  copy  of  which 
appears  as  frontispiece  of  this  volume ;  at  that  time  he  stated  to  me  that  when 
he  had  this  picture  taken  he  left  his  house  in  Madison  Place,  went  around  to 
the  photographer's  and  was  back  at  home  in  eight  minutes !  Of  course,  I  was 
much  concerned  with  Mr.  Blaine's  personal  manner  and  appearance.  It  was 
clear  to  me  that  he  was  enfeebled 
in  body  and  at  intervals  dulled  in 
thought.  It  appeared  that  his  mind 
flashed  up  fitfully — that  he  was  slow 
to  begin  and  slow  in  the  formula- 
tion  of  his  thoughts.  His  mind  at 
intervals  seemed  to  be,  as  it  were, 
awa}?  from  home.  In  the  course 
of  the  conversation,  however,  he 
became  both  interesting  and  inter- 
ested. His  fervor  returned  when 
the  conversation  touched  upon  such 
topics  as  revived  great  memories 
of   great  events    in  his  life. 

"  It  was  at  this  interview  that 
Mr.  Blaine  recounted  to  me  the 
circumstances  of  the  writing  of  the 
famous  Paris  letter,  which  he  sent 
from  the  French  capital  in  answer 
to  President  Cleveland's  tariff  mes- 
sage to  Congress.  Blaine,  at  the 
time  of  my  interview,  was  still 
performing  the  duties  of  Secretary 
of  State,  but  was,  as  I  have  said,  in  impaired  health.  He  had  just  recovered 
from  an  attack  of  la  grippe.  When  the  subject  of  the  letter  was  touched 
upon,  however,  he  aroused  himself,  and  assuming  all  of  his  old-time  spirit,  gave 
me  a  very  graphic  account  of  the  circumstances. 

"It  seems  that  in  Paris  Blaine  was  still  in  his  bedroom  on  the  morning 
of  the  seventh  of  December,  1887,  when  Mrs.  Blaine,  who  had  just  received 
the  Paris  paper  containing  the  message  of  President  Cleveland,  came  in. 
Mrs.  Blaine  said  to  him,  'James,  here  is  a  message  to  Congress  from 
President  Cleveland.'  Mr.  Blaine  said,  'Read  it  to  me,'  and  Mrs.  Blaine 
proceeded    to    read    it.      When    she    had    finished,     Mr.     Blaine,    speaking    of 



himself,  said  with  enthusiasm:  'I  jumped  out  of  bed  and  striking  the  table 
with  my  hand  said,  '"We  can  beat  him  on  that  message!'"  I  immediately! 
called  a  messenger  and  sent  for  George  W.  Smalley,  who  happened  to  be  in 
Paris  at  the  time.  Mr.  Smalley  arrived  and  I  said  to  him  that  I  wished  to 
send  an  answer  to  Mr.  Cleveland's  tariff  message  to  the  Tribune,  and  asked  if 
he  would  be  willing  to  send  it  over  the  cable.  To  this  Mr.  Smalley  immedi- 
ately agreed.  I  thereupon  sat  down  and  hurried  off  the  communication,  and 
delivered  it,  a  page  at  a  time,  to  Mr.  Smalley.  The  whole  appeared,  done 
into  an  interview  by  Mr.  Smalley,  in  the  New  York  Tribune  on  the  following 
day.     The  letter   seemed    to    define  the    issue  between  the  two   parties    sharply, 

and  became  the  keynote  of  the 
campaign  which  resulted  in  the 
election  of  Mr.  Harrison  to  the 
presidency.  After  I  had  finished 
the  document,'  continued  the  Sec- 
retary, '  I  was  completely  and  thor- 
oughly used  up.  It  was  an  over- 
task for  a  sick  man,  and  I  was 
unable  to  do  anything  for  forty- 
eight  hours  afterwards.'  " 

Mr.  Henry  W.  Knight,  to  whom 
we  are  indebted  for  this  interesting 
account  of  an  interview  with  Mr. 
Blaine  near  the  last  days  of  his 
official  life,  is  a  prominent  citizen 
of  Brooklyn  and  an  enthusiastic 
admirer  of  the  subject  of  this  vol- 
ume, to  whose  political  interest  he 
has  contributed  some  of  his  most 
enthusiastic  work.  It  may  be  re- 
called that  in  1884  a  sentiment 
of  discontent  appeared  among  the 
Republicans  of  Brooklyn,  which 
was  encouraged  and  promoted  by  the  attitude  of  the  leaders  of  the  Young 
Republican  Club.  Of  this  body  Mr.  Knight  was  a  member.  Seeing  the 
apathy  and  ill-concealed  opposition  to  Blaine  in  the  club,  he  at  length  led 
a  revolt,  which  resulted  in  the  successful  organization  of  the  Young  Men's 
Republican  Club  of  Brooklyn,  which  did  such  efficient  work  in  the  canvass. 
The  movement  was  audacious  and  was  ably  led  by  Mr.  Knight,  who  was  thus 
brought  into  friendly  and  rather  intimate  relations  with  his  unsuccessful  standard- 

On  the  occasion  of  the    interview    described    in    the    text    Mr.  Knight,  who 
is  a  publisher,  was  negotiating  with  Mr.   Blaine  for    the   production    of  his  last 


LIFE   AND   WORK   OF  JAMES   G.   BLAINE.  193 

literary  work.  This  was  his  thesis  on  "  The  Progress  and  Development  of 
the  New  World,"  which  presently  appeared  from  the  press  of  the  Historical 
Publishing  Company,  of  Philadelphia,  as  the  introduction  to  Columbus  and 
Columbia — a  book  issued  by  that  house  in  the  fall  of  the  same  year. 

This  literary  product,  being  the  last  which  the  statesman  composed,  and 
having  intrinsic  merits  in  connection  with  the  Columbian  year,  we  have  the 
pleasure  of  reproducing  in  Chapter  XVII.  of  this  volume. 

We  hereto  append  the  Paris  letter  fn  full,  as  the  same  was  done  into  the 
form  of  an  interview  by  Mr.  Smalley,  whose  preliminary  note,  preceded  by  the 
Tribune  headlines,  is  also  added  by  way  of  introduction. 


Mr.  Blaine    on    the    Message — The    Issue    will    be   Squarely    Met — A    Powerful 

Arraignment     of     the    President's    Policy — His     Recommendations    Freely 

Criticised — Disastrous  Consequences   of  Free    Trade — The  Tax  on  Tobacco 

Should  be  Repealed  before  the  Holidays — The  Tax  on  Whisky  Should    be 

Retained  and  the  Surplus  Used  to  Fortify  America's    Defenceless   Coasts — 

Southern   Progress    in    Danger    of    being    Checked — Delusions    of    Foreign 

Trade — The  Fallacy  of  Admitting  Raw  Material. 

Paris,  December    7. 
(By  Cable  to  the  "Tribune.") 

After  reading  an  abstract  of  the  President's  message,  laid  before  all 
Europe  this  morning,  I  saw  Mr.  Blaine  and  asked  him  if  he  would  be  willing 
to  give  his  views  upon  the  recommendation  of  the  President  in  the  form  of  an 
interview,  if  I  would  agree  to  send  him  an  intelligent  shorthand  reporter,  with 
such  questions  as  should  give  free  scope  for  an  expression  of  his  views.  The 
following  lucid  and  powerful  statement  is  the  result.  Mr.  Blaine  began  by 
saying  to  the  reporter : — 

"  I  have  been  reading  an  abstract  of  the  President's  message,  and  have 
been  especially  interested  in  the  comments  of  the  London  papers.  Those 
papers  all  assume  to  declare  the  message  is  a  free  trade  manifesto  and 
evidently  are  anticipating  an  enlarged  market  for  English  fabrics  in  the 
United  States  as  a  consequence  of  the  President's  recommendations.  Perhaps 
that  fact  stamped  the  character  of  the  message  more  clearly  than  any  words 
of  mine  can."  . 

"You    don't    mean    actual    free  trade  without  duty?"  queried  the  reporter. 

"  No,"  replied  Mr.  Blaine.  "  Nor  do  the  London  papers  mean  that.  They 
simply  mean  that  the  President  has  recommended  what  in  the  United  States  is 
known  as  a  revenue  tariff,  rejecting  the  protective  feature  as  an  object,  and  not 
even  permitting  protection  to  result  freely  as  an  incident  to  revenue    duties." 

"  I  don't  know  that  I  quite  comprehend  that  last  point,"   said  the  reporter. 

"  I  mean,"  said  Air.  Blaine,  "  that  for  the  first  time  in  the  history  of  the 
United  States  the  President  recommends  retaining  the  internal  tax  in  order  that 


194  LIFE  AND   WORK   OF  JAMES   G.    BLAINE. 

the  tariff  may  be  forced  down  even  below  the  fair  revenue  standard.  He 
recommends  that  the  tax  on  tobacco  be  retained,  and  thus  that  many  millions 
annually  shall  be  levied  on  a  domestic  product  which  would  far  better  come 
from  a  tariff  on  foreign    fabric." 


"  Then  do  you  mean  to  imply  that  you  would  favor  the  repeal  of  the 
tobacco  tax  ?  " 

"Certainly,  I  mean  just  that,"  said  Mr.  Blaine.  "I  should  urge  that  it  be 
done  at  once,  even  before  the  Christmas  holidays. 

"  It  would  in  the  first  place  bring  great  relief  to  growers  of  tobacco  all  over 
the  country,  and,  would,  moreover,  materially  lessen  the  price  of  the  article  to 
consumers.  Tobacco  to  millions  of  men  is  a  necessity.  The  President  calls  it 
a  luxury,  but  it  is  a  luxury  in  no  other  sense  than  tea  and  coffee  are  luxuries. 

"It  is  well  to  remember  that  the  luxury  of  yesterday  becomes  a  necessity  of 
to-day.  Watch,  if  you  please,  the  number  of  men  at  work  on  the  farm,  in  the 
coal  mine,  along  the  railroad,  in  the  iron  foundry  or  in  any  calling,  and  you  will 
find  ninety-five  in  a  hundred  chewing  while  they  work.  After  each  meal  the 
same  proportion  seek  the  solace  of  a  pipe  or  a  cigar.  These  men  not  only  pay 
the  millions  of  the  tobacco  tax,  but  pay  on  every  plug  and  every  cigar  an 
enhanced  price,  which  the  tax  enables  the  manufacturer  and  retailer  to  impose. 
The  only  excuse  for  such  a  tax  is  the  actual  necessity  under  which  the  govern- 
ment found  itself  during  the  war,  and  the  years  immediately  following.  To 
retain  the  tax  now  in  order  to  destroy  the  protection  which  would  incidentally 
flow  from  raising  the  same  amount  of  money  on  foreign  imports  is  certainly  a 
most  extraordinary  policy  for  our  government." 


"  Well,  then,  Mr.  Blaine  would  you  advise  the  repeal  of  the  whisky  tax 

"  No,  I  would  not.  Other  considerations  than  those  of  financial  admin- 
istration are  to  be  taken  into  account  with  regard  to  whisky.  There  is  a  moral 
side  to  it.  To  cheapen  the  price  of  whisky  is  to  increase  its  consumption 
enormously.  There  would  be  no  sense  in  urging  the  reform  wrought  by  high 
license  in  many  States  if  the  National  Government  neutralizes  the  good  effects 
by  making  whisky  within  reach  of  every  one,  at  20  cents  a  gallon.  Whisky 
would  be  everywhere  distilled  if  the  surveillance  of  the  Government  were  with- 
drawn by  the  remission  of  the  tax,  and  illicit  sales  could  not  then  be  prevented, 
even  by  a  policy  as  vigorous  and  searching  as  that  with  which  Russia  pursues  the 
Nihilists.     It  would  destroy  high  license  at  once  in  all  the  States. 


"  Whisky  has  done  a  vast  deal  of  harm  in  the  United  States.  I  would 
try  to  make  it  do  some  good.     I  would  use  the  tax  to  fortify  our  cities  on  the 





196  LIFE  AND   WORK   OF   JAMES   G.   BLAINE. 

seaboard.  In  view  of  the  powerful  letter  addressed  to  the  Democratic  party  on 
the  subject  of  fortifications,  by  the  late  Samuel  J.  Tilden  in  1885,  I  am 
amazed  that  no  attention  has  been  paid  to  the  subject  by  the  Democratic 
administration.  Never  before  in  the  history  of  the  world  has  any  government 
allowed  great  cities  on  the  seaboard,  like  Philadelphia,  New  York,  Boston, 
Baltimore,  New  Orleans  and  San  Francisco,  to  remain  defenceless." 
IN    TIME    OF    PEACE    PREPARE    FOR    WAR. 

"  But,"  said  the  reporter,  "  you  don't  think  we  are  to  have  war  in  any 
direction  ?  " 

"Certainly  not,"  said  Mr.  Blaine,  "neither,  I  presume,  did  Mr.  Tilden 
when  he  wrote  his  remarkable  letter.  But  we  should  change  a  remote  chance 
into  an  absolute  impossibility.  If  our  weak  and  exposed  points  were  strongly 
fortified ;  if  to-day  we  had  by  any  chance  even  such  a  war  as  we  had  with 
Mexico  our  enemy  could  procure  ironclads  in  Europe  that  would  menace  our 
great  cities  with  destruction  or  lay  them  under  contribution." 

"  But  would  not  our  fortifying  now  possibly  look  as  if  we  expected  war  ? " 

"  Why  should  it  any  more  than  the  fortifications  made  seventy  or  eighty 
years  ago  by  our  grandfathers  when  they  guarded  themselves  against  suc- 
cessful attacks  from  the  armaments  of  that  day.  We  don't  necessarily  expect 
a  burglar  because  we  lock  our  doors  at  night ;  but  if,  by  any  possibility,  a 
burglar  comes,  it  contributes  vastly  to  our  peace  of  mind  and  our  sound  sleep 
to  feel  that  he  cannot  get  in." 

HOUSES     AND     FARMS     PAY    TOO     MUCH     TAX. 

"  But  after  the  fortifications  should  be  constructed,  would  you  still 
maintain  the  tax  on  whisky  ?  " 

"  Yes,"  said  Mr.  Blaine,  "  so  long  as  there  is  whisky  to  tax  I  would 
tax  it,  and  when  the  National  Government  should  have  no  use  for  the  money 
I  would  divide  the  tax  among  the  Federal  Union  with  a  specific  object  of 
lightening  the  tax  on  real  estate.  The  houses  and  farms  of  the  whole 
country  pay  too  large  a  proportion  of  the  total  taxes.  If  ultimately  relief 
could  be  given  in  that  direction,  it  would,  in  my  judgment,  be  a  wise  and 
beneficent  policy.  Some  honest  but  misguided  friends  of  temperance  have 
urged  that  the  Government  should  not  use  the  money  derived  from  the  tax 
on  whisky.  My  reply  is  that  the  tax  on  whisky  by  the  Federal  Govern- 
ment, with  its  suppression  of  all  illicit  distillation  and  enhancement  of  price, 
has  been  a  powerful  agent  in  the  temperance  reform,  by  putting  it  beyond  the 
reach  of  so  many.  The  amount  of  whisky  consumed  in  the  United  States 
per  capita  to-day  is  not  more  than  forty  per  cent  of  that  consumed  thirty 
years  ago." 

After  a  few  moments'  silence  Mr.  Blaine  added  that  in  his  judgment  the 
whisky  tax  should  be  so  modified  as  to  permit  all  who  use  pure  alcohol  in 
the  arts  or  in  the    mechanical    pursuits    to    have    it    free    of  tax.      In    all    such 

LIFE   AND   WORK   OF  JAMES   G.   BLAINE.  197 

cases  the  tax  could  be  remitted  without  danger  of  fraud,    just    as    now  the   tax 
on  spirits  exported  is  remitted." 

"  Beside  your  general  and  sweeping  opposition  to  the  President's  recom- 
mendation  have   you  any  further  specific  objection?" 


"Yes,"  answered  Mr.  Blaine,  "I  should  seriously  object  to  the  repeal  of 
the  duty  on  wool.  To  repeal  that  would  work  great  injustice  to  many 
interests  and  would  seriously  discourage  what  we  should  earnestly  encourage, 
namely,  the  sheep  culture  among  farmers  throughout  the  Union.  To  break 
down  wool-growing  and  be  dependent  upon  foreign  countries  for  the  blanket 
under  which  we  sleep  and  the  coat  that  covers  our  back  is  not  a  wise  policy 
for  the  National  Government  to  enforce." 

"  Do  you  think  if  the  President's  recommendation  were  adopted  it  would 
increase  our  export  trade  ?  " 

"  Possibly  in  some  few  articles  of  peculiar  construction  it  might,  but  it 
would  increase  our  import  trade  tenfold  as  much  in  the  great  staple 
fabrics,  in  woolen  and  cotton  goods,  in  iron,  in  steel,  in  all  the  thousand  and 
one  shapes  in  which  they  are  wrought.  How  are  we  to  export  staple  fabrics 
to  the  markets  of  Europe  unless  we  make  them  cheaper  than  they  do  in 
Europe,  and  how  are  we  to  manufacture  them  cheaper  than  they  do  in  Europe 
unless  we  get  cheaper  labor  than  the}'  have  in   Europe?" 


"Then  you  think  that  the  question  of  labor  underlies  the  whole  subject?'' 

"  Of  course,  it  does,"  replied  Mr.  Blaine.  "  It  is,  in  fact,  the  entire 
question.  Whenever  we  can  force  carpenters,  masons,  iron-workers  and 
mechanics  in  every  department  to  work  as  cheaply  and  live  as  poorly  in  the 
United  States  as  similar  workmen  in  Europe,  we  can,  of  course,,  manufacture 
just  as  cheaply  as  they  do  in  England  and  France.  But  I  am  totalty  opposed 
to  a  policy  that  would  entail  such  results.  To  attempt  it  is  equivalent  to  a 
social  and  financial  revolution,  one  that  would  bring  untold  distress." 

"  Yes,  but  might  not  the  great  farming  class  be  benefited  by  importing 
articles  from  Europe  instead  of  buying  them  at  higher  prices  at  home?" 

"  The  moment,"  answered  Mr.  Blaine,  "  you  begin  to  import  freely  from 
Europe  you  drive  our  own  workmen  from  mechanical  and  manufacturing 
pursuits.  In  the  same  proportion  they  become  tillers  of  the  soil,  increasing 
steadily  the  agricultural  product  and  decreasing  steadilv  the  large  home 
demand,  which  is  constantly  enlarging  as  home  manufacturers  enlarge.  That, 
of  course,  works  great  injury  to  the  farmer,  glutting  the  market  with  his 
products  and  tending  constantly  to  lower  prices." 


"  Yes,  but  the  foreign  demand  for  foreign  products  would  be  increased  in 
like  ratio,  would  it  not  ?" 

198  LIFE   AND   WORK   OF  JAMES   G.    BLAINE. 

"  Even  suppose  it  were,"  said  Mr.  Blaine,  "  how  do  you  know  the  source 
from  which  it  will  be  supplied?  The  tendency  in  Russia  to-day  and  in  the  Asiatic 
possessions  of  England  is  toward  a  larger  increase  of  the  grain  supp^,  the 
grain  being  raised  by  the  cheapest  possible  labor ;  manufacturing  countries  will 
buy  their  breadstuffs  where  they  can  get  them  cheapest,  and  the  enlarging  of 
the  home  market  for  the  American  farmer  being  checked,  he  would  search  in 
vain  for  one  of  the  same  value.  His  foreign  sales  are  already  checked  by  the 
great  competition  abroad.  There  never  was  a  time  when  the  increase  of  a  large 
home  market  was  so  valuable  to  him.  The  best  proof  is  that  the  farmers  are 
prosperous  in  proportion  to  the  nearness  of  manufacturing  centres,  and  a  pro- 
tective tariff  tends  to  spread  manufactures.  In  Ohio  and  Indiana,  for  example, 
though  not  classed  as  manufacturing  States,  the  annual  sale  of  fabrics  is  larger 
than  the  annual  value  of  agricultural  products." 

THE   TARIFF    OF    1 864    AND    ITS    RESULTS. 

"  But  those  holding  the  President's  views,"  remarked  the  reporter,  "  are 
always  quoting  the  great  prosperity  of  the  country  under  the  tariff  of  1864." 

"  That  tariff  did  not  involve  the  one  destructive  point  recommended  by  the 
President,  namely,  the  retaining  of  direct  internal  taxes  in  order  to  abolish 
indirect  taxes  levied  on  foreign  fabrics.  But  the  country  had  peculiar  advantages 
under  it  by  the  Crimean  War  involving  England,  France  and  Russia,  and 
largely  impairing  their  trade.  All  these  incidents,  if  you  choose,  were 
immensely  stimulating  to  trade  in  the  United  States,  regardless  of  the  nature 
of  our  tariff — but  mark  the  end  of  this.  European  experience  with  the  tariff 
of  1846,  for  a  time  gave  an  illusory  and  deceptive  show  of  prosperity.  Its 
enactment  was  immediately  followed  by  the  Mexican  War;  then,  in  1S48,  by  the 
great  convulsions  of  Europe;  then,  in  1849  and  succeeding  years,  by  the  enormous 
gold  yield  in  California.  The  Powers  made  peace  in  1856,  and  at  the  same 
time  the  output  of  gold  in  California  fell  off.  Immediately  the  financial  panic 
of  1857  came  upon  the  country  with  disastrous  force.  Though  we  had  in  these 
years  mined  a  vast  amount  of  gold  in  California  ever}'  bank  in  New  York  was 
compelled  to  suspend  specie  payment.  Four  hundred  millions  in  gold  had  been 
carried  out  of  the  country  in  eight  years  to  pay  for  foreign  goods  that  should 
have  been  manufactured  at  home,  and  we  had  years  of  depression  and  distress 
as  an  atonement  for  our  folly." 


"  Then  do  you  mean  to  imply  that  there  should  be  no  reduction  ot  the 
national  revenue  ?  " 

""  No,  what  I  have  said  implies  the  reverse.  I  would  reduce  it  by  prompt 
repeal  of  the  tobacco  tax  and  would  make  here  and  there  some  changes  in  the 
tariff,  not  to  reduce  protection,  but  wisely  foster  it." 

"  Would  you  explain  your  meaning  more  fully  ?  " 

LIFE   AND   WORK   OF  JAMES   G.    BLAINE.  199 

''I  mean,"  said  Mr.  Blaine,  "that  no  great  system  of  revenue  like  our  tariff 
can  operate  with  efficiency  and  equity  unless  the  chauges  of  trade  be  closely 
watched  and  the  law  promptly  adapted  to  these  changes.  But  I  would  make  no 
change  that  should  impair  the  protective  character  of  the  whole  body  of  the  tariff 
laws.  Four  years  ago,  in  the  Act  of  1S83  we  made  changes  of  the  character  I  have 
tried  to  indicate.  If  such  changes  were  made,  and  the  fortifying  of  our  seacoast 
thus  undertaken  at  a  very  moderate  annual  outlay,  no  surplus  would  be  found  after 
that  already  accumulated  had  been  disposed  of.  The  outlay  of  money  on  fortifica- 
tions, while  doing  great  service  to  the  country,  would  give  good  work  to  many  men." 

"  But  what  about  the  existing  surplus  ?  " 

"  The  abstract  of  the  message  I  have  seen,"  replied  Mr.  Blaine,  "  contains  no 
reference  to  that  point.  I,  therefore,  make  no  comment  further  than  to  endorse  Mr. 
Fred  Grant's  remark  that  a  surplus  is  always  easier  to  handle  than    a  deficit." 


The  reporter  repeated  the  question  whether  the  President's  recommendation 
would  not,  if  adopted,  give  us  the  advantage  of  a  large  increase  in  exports. 

"  I  only  repeat,  "  answered  Mr.  Blaine,  "  that  it  would  vastly  enlarge  our 
imports  while  the  only  export  it  would  seriously  increase  would  be  our 
gold  and  silver.  That  would  flow  bounteously,  just  as  it  did  under  the  tariff 
of  1846.  The  President's  recommendation  enacted  into  law  would  result,  as 
did  an  experience  in  drainage  of  a  man  who  wished  to  turn  his  swamp  into  a 
productive  field.  He  dug  a  drain  to  a  neighboring  river,  but  it  happened, 
unfortunately,  that  the  level  of  the  river  was  higher  than  the  level  of  the 
swamp.  The  consequence  need  not  be  told.  A  parallel  would  be  found  when 
the  President's  policy  in  attempting  to  open  a  channel  for  an  increase  of  the 
exports  should  simply  succeed  in  making  way  for  a  deluging  inflow  of  fabrics 
to  the  destruction  of  home  industry.  " 


"  But  don't  you  think  it  important  to  increase  our  export  trade  ?  " 
"  Undoubtedly  ;  but  it  is  vastly  more  important  not  to  lose  our  own  great 
market  for  our  own  people  in  the  vain  effort  to  reach  the  impossible.  It  is 
not  our  foreign  trade  that  has  caused  the  wonderful  growth  and  expansion  of 
the  Republic.  It  is  the  vast  domestic  trade  between  thirty-eight  States  and 
eight  Territories,  with  their  population  of,  perhaps,  62,000,000  to-day.  The 
whole  amount  of  our  export  and  import  trade  together  has  never,  I  think, 
reached  $1,900,000,000  any  one  year.  Our  internal  home  trade  on  130,000  miles 
of  railway,  along  15,000  miles  of  ocean  coast,  over  the  five  great  lakes  and 
along  20,000  miles  of  navigable  rivers,  reaches  the  enormous  annual  aggregate 
of  more  than  $40,000,000,000  and,  perhaps,  this  year,  $50,000,000,000. 

"  It  is  mto  this  illimitable  trade,  even  now  in  its    infancy  and    destined  to 
attain  a  magnitude    not  dreamed  of   twenty  years   ago,  that  the    Europeans    are 

200  LIFE   AND   WORK   OF  JAMES   G.   BLAINE. 

struggling  to  enter.  It  is  the  heritage  of  the  American  people,  of  their  child- 
ren and  of  their  children's  children.  It  gives  an  absolutely  free  trade  over  a  terri- 
tory nearly  as  large  as  all  Europe,  and  the  profit  is  all  our  own.  The  genuine 
free  trader  appears  unable  to  see  or  comprehend  that  this  continental  trade — not 
our  exchanges  with  Europe — is  the  great  source  of  our  prosperity.  President 
Cleveland  now  plainly  proposes  a  policjr  that  will  admit  Europe  to  a  share 
of  this  trade.  " 


"But  you  are  in  favor  of  extending  our  foreign  trade,  are  you  not?" 
"  Certainly  I  am,  in  all  practical  and  advantageous  ways,  but  not  on  the 
principle  of  the  free  traders,  by  which  we  shall  be  constantly  exchanging  dol- 
lar for  dime.  Moreover,  the  foreign  trade  is  often  very  delusive.  Cotton  is 
manufactured  in  the  city  of  my  residence.  If  a  box  of  cotton  goods  is  sent  200 
miles  to  the  Province  of  New  Brunswick  it  is  a  foreign  trade.  If  shipped 
17,000  miles  around  Cape  Horn  to  Washington  Territory  it  is  domestic  trade. 
The  magnitude  of  the  Union  and  the  immensity  of  its  internal  trade  require  a 
new  political  economy.  The  treatises  written  for  European  States  do  not  grasp 
our  peculiar  situation.  " 


"  How  will  the  President's  message  be  taken  in  the  South  ?  " 
"  I  don't  care  to  answer  that  question.  The  truth  has  been  so  long 
obscured  by  certain  local  questions  of  unreasoning  prejudice  that  nobody  can 
hope  for  industrial  enlightenment-  among  their  leaders  just  yet.  But  in  .my 
view  the  South  above  all  sections  of  the  United  States  needs  a  protected  tariff. 
The  two  Virginias,  North  Carolina,  Kentucky,  Missouri,  Tennessee,  Alabama  and 
Georgia  have  enormous  resources  and  facilities  for  developing  and  handling 
manufactures.  They  cannot  do  anything  without  protection.  Even  progress 
so  fast  as  some  of  these  States  have  made  will  be  checked  if  the  President's 
message  is  enacted  into  law  Their  Senators  and  Representatives  can  prevent 
it,  but  they  are  so  used  to  following  anything  labeled  '  Democratic '  that  very 
probably  they  will  follow  the  President  and  blight  the  progress  made.  By  the 
time  some  of  the  Southern  States  get  free  iron-ore  and  coal,  while  tobacco  is 
taxed,  they  may  have  occasion  to  sit  down  and  calculate  the  value  of  Demo 
cratic  free  trade  with  a  local  interest." 



"  Will  not  the  President's  recommendation  to  admit  raw  material  find 
strong  support  ?" 

"  Not  by  wise  Protectionists  in  our  time.  Perhaps  some  greedy  manufac- 
turers may  think  that  with  free  coal  or  free  iron-ore  they  can  do  great  things, 
but  if  they  succeed  in  trying  will,  as  the  boys  say,  '  catch  it  on  the  rebound.' 
If  the  home  trade  in  raw  material  is  destroyed  or  seriously  injured  railroads 
will  be  the  first  to  feel  it.       If  that  vast  interest  is  crippled  in  any  direction  the 

LIFE   AND   WORK   OF  JAMES   G.    BLAINE.  201 

financial  fabric  of  the  whole  country  will  feel  it  seriously  and  quickly.  If  any 
man  can  give  a  reason  why  we  should  arrange  the  tariff  to  favor  the  raw 
material  of  other  countries  in  a  competition  against  our  material  of  the  same 
kind,  I  should  like  to  hear  it.  Should  that  recommendation  of  the  President 
be  approved  it  would  turn  100,000  American  laborers  out  of  employment  before 
if  had  been  a  year  in  operation." 


"  What  must  be  the  marked  and  general  effect  of  the  President's 
message  ?  " 

"  It  will  bring  the  country  where  it  ought  to  be  brought — to  a  full  and 
fair  contest  on  the  question  of  protection.  The  President  himself  makes  it  the 
one  issue  by  presenting  it  in  his  message.  I  think  it  well  to  have  the  question 
settled.  The  Democratic  party  in  power  is  a  standard  menace  to  the  industrial 
prosperity  of  the  country.  That  menace  should  be  removed  or  the  policy  it 
foreshadows  should  be  made  certain.  Nothing  is  so  mischievous  to  business 
as  uncertainty.     Nothing  so  paralyzing  as  doubt." 

The  foregoing  interview  contains  about  four  thousand  words.  It  was  written 
by  Mr.  Blaine  in  a  single  day  and  passed  page  by  page  to  the  correspondent. 
The  statesman  was  by  no  means  in  full  force  at  the  time ;  but  the  reader  will 
look  in  vain  for  any  evidence  of  weakness  or  lassitude  in  the  letter  itself.  It 
shows  Blaine's  capacity  for  doing  a  striking  thing  with  great  ability  and  in  the 
shortest  space  of  time.  His  mental  discipline  was  as  undoubted  as  his  readiness 
was  manifest.  Many  a  writer,  who  can  produce  a  light  essay  on  imaginative 
or  half-imaginative  subjects  of  an  extent  approximately  equal  to  Blaine's 
production,  would  break  and  fail  under  the  pressure  of  facts  and  argument. 
It  was  an  audacious  thing  in  the  great  Republican  leader  to  essay  an  answer 
to  a  presidential  message  in  a  single  day,  and  to  send  that  answer  under  the 
sea  and  deliver  it  to  his  countrymen  in  a  form  which  a  large  part  of  the 
most  intelligent  of  the  American  people  believed  to  equal  the  President's 
document,  if  it  did  not  positively  confute  and  destroy  it.  The  exploit  was 
memorable  in  the  political  history  of  the  quadrennium,  and,  as  Mr.  Blaine 
himself  believed,  made  up  the  issue  between  the  Republican  and  Democratic 
parties  for  the  presidential  contest  of  the  following  year. 




D  although  men  whose  exertions  have  been 
crowned  with  any  degree  of  honor,  and  who  have 
rendered  themselves  conspicuous  to  the  world 
ought,  perhaps,  to  regard  only  that  personal  merit 
to  which  they  owe  their  celebrity ;  yet,  as  in  this 
world  it  is  necessary  to  live  like  other  people, 
I  must,  in  commencing  my  narrative,  satisfy 
the  public  on  some  few  points  to  which  its 
curiosity  is  usually  directed."  These  words 
from  the  prefatory  reflections  with  which 
Benvenuto  Cellini  enters  upon  his  autobio- 
graphy declare  a  truth  which  finds  a  vivid 
illustration  in  the  work  written  in  the  spirit 
he  thus  indicates,  namely,  that  of  willingness 
to  "  satisfy  the  public  '  as  to  matters  purely  personal  and  apart  from  his 
"personal  merit"  as  an  aitist. 

Among  the  world's  most  famous  books,  place  is  universally  conceded  to 
Cellini's  Autobiography,  Boswell's  Johnson,  Pepys'  Diary,  and  the  Essays  of 
Montaigne.  They  are  always  fresh  and  new  and  charming  to  each  successive 
generation,  because  they  possess  an  attraction  to  civilized  men  of  every  race  and 
time  in  that  they  disclose  in  fullest  detail  the  daily  lives,  the  personal  habits 
and  tastes,  motives  of  action,  and  the  fears,  foibles  and  weaknesses  of  their 
subjects  and  authors ;  they  satisfy  the  curiosity,  which  is  a  universal  human 

If  these  life-histories  are  so  cherished  on  account  of  their  frank  self- 
revelations  of  men  in  whom  the  world  has  otherwise  no  particular  interest,  how- 
much  more  valuable  must  be  information  as  to  the  personal  characteristics  of 
individuals  who  are  acknowledged  to  belong  to  the  great  of  the  earth !  Colonel 
Iugersoll  styles  George  Washington  "  a  steel  engraving."  The  aptness  of  the 
characterization  is  evident.  We  honor  and  revere  the  name  of  Washington,  the 
patriot  hero ;  but  he  is  a  personage  whose  worth  we  recognize,  not  a  man  whom 
we  can  seem  to  see  clearly  and  to  know.  Grant,  too,  will  no  doubt,  appear  tc 
posterity  more  as  a  demi-god  than  as  a  man.  Both  the  Founder  and  the  Preserver 
of  the  nation  were  so  grave  in  character  and  demeanor,  so  retiring  in  their 
nature,  and  of  such  reticence  of  speech  except  in  the   society  of  a  few  intimate 



friends,  that  they  will  be  generally  seen  and  known  only  as  occupants  of  the 
exalted  niches  wherein  fame  has  placed  them.  So  far  as  the  evidence  extends, 
or  for  lack  of  it,  they  do  not  seem  to  have  "lived  like  other  people,"  or  to 
have  been  closely  in  touch  with  their  fellow-men. 

The  public  is  not  curious  to  know  the  personal  side  of  the  lives  of  its  heroes 
in  the  hope  of  finding  something  there  to  detract  from  the  largeness  of  their 
fame.  It  desires  to  see  their  common  every-day  qualities  and  peculiarities,  even 
weaknesses,  that  it  may  establish  a  bond  of  union  and  sympathy  between  them 
and  the  "average  man,"  and  comfort  itself  with  the  thought  that  strength  and 
genius  lie  in  the  development  of  the  nature  and  powers  which  all    possess. 

The  Cromwells,  Washingtons  and  Grants  appear  to  have  been  held  in 
obscurity  by  the  hand  of  a  prescient  fate  to  be  brought  forward  in  an  emergency 
none  else  could  meet.  As  in  the  legend  of  the  Indian  fight  at  Hadley,  the 
regicide  Goffe  suddenly  appeared  at  the  critical  point  of  the  fray,  and,  with 
superhuman  heroism,  turned  the  scale  in  favor  of  the  whites,  and  then  as  mys- 
teriously vanished,  leaving  a  sensation  of  awe  among  those  he  had  rescued,  so, 
when  on  great  occasions  or  at  dangerous  junctures,  such  men  as  these  have 
sprung  lip  and  led  to  victory,  as  if  divinely  delegated  for  the  duty  of  the  hour, 
something  of  mystery  and  leverential  regard  attaches  to  them  forever.  The 
public  does  not  expect  to   know    them    as  intimately  as  other   men   are  known. 

The  case  is  different  as  to  those  who  have  grown  to  greatness  gradually 
before  the  eyes  of  the  public  and  in  its  service.  The  relation  is  closer  and  the 
mutual  attachment  acquires  a  warmth  of  human  interest  which,  on  the  part  of 
the  public,  leads  to  a  desire  to  be  admitted  to  a  thorough  and  intimate  acquaint- 
ance with  the  object  of  its  admiration,  and  to  transmit  the  fullest  information 
in  regard  to  him  that  posterity  may  see  "the  great  Achilles  whom  we  knew." 
Of  this  class  Blaine  was  pre-eminently  a  representative.  He  was  emphatically 
a  tribune  of  the  people. 

Entering  public  life  at  the  age  of  twenty-four  he  was  continuously  and, 
after  the  first  few  years  of  his  apprenticeship,  conspicuously  before  the  people 
until  his  last  hour.  His  personal  acquaintances  and  friends  were  to  be  found 
in  every  State  and  Territory  and  numbered  a  host.  His  political  friends  and 
admirers  comprised  nearly  the  entire  Republican  party.  Whatever  exceptions 
there  may  have  been  for  one  cause  or  another  were  probably  offset  by  a 
personal  following  drawn  from  the  ranks  of  the  enemy.  His  intellectual  ability, 
his  readiness  and  ingenuity  in  debate,  his  faithfulness  to  the  principles  of  his 
party  and  absolute  fearlessness  in  defending  them,  whether  on  the  floor  of  the 
House  or  "  on  the  stump,"  combined  with  his  attractive  personal  qualities  to 
constitute  him  a  popular  idol  without  a  peer  in  American  history. 

Colonel  Ingersoll  happily  hit  the  popular  conception  when  he  styled  Blaine 
"  The  Plumed  Knight."  At  that  name  there  springs  up  before  the  mental 
vision  a  noble  presence — tall,  erect,  and  robust  form,  instinct  with  vigorous  life 
and  energy,  moving  with  a  brisk,  decided    step,  and    an    alert    air   indicative  of 



dashiug  courage  ;  a  countenance  lighted  up  by  large,  luminous  dark  eyes,  singu- 
larly expressive  of  the  keen  intellect  and  magnetic  power  behind  them,  genial 
as  a  summer's  day  to  those  he  loved  but  terrible  to  his  enemies,  when  the  fray 
was  on  ;  a  bearing  hearty,  frank,  and  debonair,  yet  with  a  consciousness  of 
power  suggestive  of  the  lists  in  which  his  clear,  resonant  voice  was  wont  to 
ring  out  in  victory  over  many  a  champion,  and  of  readiness  to  meet  whatever 
foeman  might  challenge — and  Blaine  stands  before  us,  a  knight  "  sans  penr  e' 
sans  reproche?'1 

It  was  a  fortunate  turning-point  in  Blaine's  life  that  took  him  at  the  out- 
set of  his  career  to  Augusta  and  the  Third  Congressional  District.  Augusta, 
even  now  a  city  of  but  ten  thousand  inhabitants,  is  the  capital  of  the  State,  and 


during  Blaine's  long  incumbency  of  the  chairmanship  of  the  Republican  State 
Committee  was  easily  the  political  centre  as  well.  The  Third  District  embraced 
many  large  towns  and  some  of  the  finest  farming  sections  of  the  State,  and  its; 
people  were  engaged  in  a  great  variety  of  pursuits — shipbuilding,  fishing,  lime- 
burning,  granite-quarrying,  ice-cutting,  manufactures  of  cotton  and  woolen  goods, 
paper,  wood-pulp,  tools  and  machinery,  and  in  lumbering  and  farming ;  it  was! 
a  prosperous  portion  of  the  State  and  the  district  extended  from  Canada  to  the 
ocean.  It  was,  and  is,  a  typical  New  England  community  in  point  of  intel-i 
ligence,  enterprise,  diversity  of  employment,  and  interest  in  public  affairs,  quick 
to  recognize  superior  ability  and  faithful  to  "the  servants  who  prove  faithful  to 
their  duties  and  reflect  honor  upon  their  principals.  It  sent  George  Evans,  the 
great  Whig  statesman,  to  represent  it  in  Congress  five  successive  terms. 


Blaine  was  fortunate  too  in  his  choice  of  occupation.  As  editor  of  a 
political  journal  he  speedily  found  that  a  public  life  was  that  in  which  he  could 
best  use  his  natural  and  acquired  faculties  and  powers,  and  was  the  path  to 
which  his  tastes  and  aspirations  invited  him.  His  vocation  necessarily  brought 
him  in  contact  with  local  political  leaders  from  all  parts  of  the  district,  and  thus 
opened  the  way  to  the  Legislature  and  to  Congress. 

The  residence  of  the  Blaines  in  Augusta  is  a  wooden  house  of  the  good 
old  fashion  ;  square,  two-storied,  of  ample  size,  with  large  sunny  rooms,  most 
of  which  are  provided  with  the  open  fireplaces,  which  are  such  important  adjuncts 
to  homes  in  New  England,  since  "  the  blazing  hearth  "  promotes  healthfulness 
and  cheerfulness  through  the  long  dark  winters,  and  is  in  itself  an  object  of 
beauty  and  of  attractive  associations. 

At  about  the  time  Blaine  was  elected  Speaker  of  the  National  House  of 
Representatives,  more  room  was  needed  to  accommodate  his  family,  and  receive 
the  many  callers  and  visitors,  who  came  from  many  quarters  of  the  country, 
and  on  divers  errands,  and  a  large  square  addition,  nearly  a  duplicate  of  the 
house  proper,  was  joined  to  the  "L"  and  divided  into  rooms  for  a  library, 
billiard-room,  and  other  offices.  The  carriage  house  and  stable  are  just  in  the 
rear  of  the  house,  and  access  to  them  is  by,  a  short  driveway  from  the  side 
street.  The  house  is  on  the  corner  of  State  street,  the  principal  residence 
street  of  the  city,  and  Capitol  street.  It  front  is  on  and  a  few  yards  from 
State  street  and  between  the  house  and  Capitol  street  there  is  a  lawn  of 
moderate  size.  Maple  trees  of  mature  growth  shade  the  front  of  the  house  and 
lawn.  On  the  opposite  side  of  Capitol  street,  the  State-house  is  situated  on 
a  slight  eminence  in  the  midst  of  terraced  and  well-shaded  grounds.  From  his 
library  window  the  nation's  statesman  could  look  out  upon  the  scene  of  his 
early  triumphs  in  the  State  Legislature.  The  house  was  comfortably  furnished 
and  books,  etchings,  photographs,  curios,  and  many  "  objets  d'  art"  and 
souvenirs,  such  as  are  found  in  every  household  of  refinement,  lay  scattered 
about    the    drawing    and    reception    rooms    in    the  usual    picturesque    confusion. 

There  was  an  air  of  use  about  the  apartments  which  did  not  belie  the 
fact.  Home,  office  and  headquarters  were  all  under  the  same  hospitable  roof. 
The  requirements  of  a  family  of  eight  persons,  visiting  friends,  social  callers  and 
a  constant  stream  of  political  pilgrims  left  no  room  for  that  apartment  of  sacred 
seclusion  which  is  so  dear  to  the  heart  of  the  New  England  housewife.  The 
entire  house  and  its  appointments  seemed  dedicated  to  use  and  comfort.  In 
nothing  was  there  displayed  any  aim  at  ostentation. 

The  friends  and  neighbors  of  the  Blaine  family  greatly  enjoyed  the  one 
effort  which  the  colored  driver  and  "  useful  man  "  made  at  what  he  considered 
a  proper  display.  On  the  Sunday  following  Blaine's  nomination  for  the 
presidency,  the  proud  retainer  drove  to  the  door  with  a  hired  landau  and  pair 
from  the  livery  stable,  whence  the  turnout  rarely  emerged  except  to  do  honor 
to  "  distinguished  guests "  in  processions  and  on   other   occasions    of  ceremony, 

206  LIFE  AND   WORK   OF  JAMES   G.    BLAINE. 

intending  to  drive  the  Republican  nominee  and  his  family  to  church  in 
befitting  state.  The  sudden  retrograde  movement  which  he  was  obliged  to 
make  when  his  delicate  attention  was  brought  to  the  notice  of  the  proposed 
beneficiary,  surprised  and  saddened  the  ambitious  coachman.  The  family 
walked  to  church  as  usual. 

In  that  mansion  used  to  be 
Free-hearted  hospitality. 

The  Augusta  home  was  occupied  in  the  months  of  summer  and  early 
fall,  during  the  recess  of  Congress,  and  in  that  period  was  crowded  with 
scenes  of  animation  and  busy  life.  The  children  were  then  at  home  for  the 
school  or  college  vacation,  and  they  often  brought  schoolmates  with  them. 
Mr.  and  Mrs.  Blaine  were  seldom  without  guests  from  among  their  friends  in 
all  parts  of  the  country.  But  the  political  life  which  centred  there,  and  the 
social  occasions  incident  to  it  and  to  Mr.  Blaine's  prominence  in  public  life 
caused  the  greater  portion  of  the  stir    and  movement   that  pervaded  the  house 

The  State  of  Maine  had  not  then  adopted  biennial  elections,  so  that  a 
political  battle  had  to  be  fought  every  year.  The  State  election,  especially  in 
presidential  years,  was  a  very  important  one,  and  of  national  interest, 
inasmuch  as  it  occurred  early  in  September,  and  thus  served  as  an  index  of 
the  popular  sentiment  and  tendency.  For  this  reason  the  State  was  a  battle- 
ground to  which  each  party  summoned  its  ablest  leaders  and  advocates,  and 
the  people  thus  enjoyed  exceptional  opportunities  for  listening  to  the  oratorical 
efforts  of  the  champions  of  both  parties.  It  may  be  suggested,  in  passing, 
that  perhaps  the  unique  consequence  of  the  Maine  election  furnished  no 
inconsiderable  vantage-ground  to  Mr.  Blaine,  since  it  attracted  the  attention  of 
the  country  to  him  as  the  representative  of  the  party  by  virtue  of  his  chair- 
manship of  the  Republican  organization. 

The  "spellbinders"  who  enlisted  at  Blaine's  call  either  went  directly  to 
him  for  assignment,  instructions  and  hints  for  the  conduct  of  the  campaign 
or  so  arranged  their  peregrinations  that  they  would  call  upon  him  and 
"  discuss  the  situation."  Frequently  these  visits  gave  occasion  for  a  social 
entertainment  of  some  sort — a  dinner,  a  drive,  a  "tea,"  or  a  reception.  The 
friends  of  the  family  in  Augusta — and  nearly  all  the  people  of  the  town, 
irrespective  of  party,  came  under  that  designation — were  thus  largely  indebted 
to  this  hospitable  home  for  delightful  gatherings  which  enabled  them  to  meet 
the  political  lions  of  the  day  and  to  enjoy  the  presence  and  conversation  of 
their  entertainers — a  pleasure  always  prized  by  them.  There  were  some 
memorable  occasions  in  honor  of  specially  distinguished  guests,  when  the 
house  was  filled  to  overflowing  with  guests  from  all  parts  of  the  district  andj 
from  the  State  at  large. 

Among  these  were  the  reception  given  to  General  Grant  when  he  was, 
paying  a  friendly  visit,  the  welcome  to  Logan,  who  had  come  to  confer  with 
his    colleague,    and    the    joyous    gathering    to    greet    and    honor    the    California! 

LIFE   AND   WORK   OF  JAMES  G.    BLAINE.  '207 

delegation  to  the  National  Convention  which  had  nominated  Blaine,  whose 
enthusiasm  at  the  success  of  the  man  of  their  choice  impelled  them  in  a  body- 
to  supplement  their  already  long  journey  by  a  pilgrimage  to  Maine,  that  they 
might  in  person  present  their  congratulations  and  grasp  the  hand  of  the 
leader  they  so  loved  and  admired.  Tact  and  the  instincts  of  genuine 
hospitality  were  never  at  a  loss  to  devise  fitting  attentions  for  all  comers 
entitled  to  consideration.  A  flying  and  unheralded  visit  by  the  officers  of  the 
Russian  man-of-war  which  had  suddenly  appeared  upon  the  coast  and  was 
then  at  anchor  in  a  Mount  Desert  harbor,  where  it  remained  for  some  time, 
to  the  great  mystification  of  the  quidnuncs,  gave  no  time  for  elaborate 
attentions,  but  that  household  was  not  without  resource  in  an  emergency. 
There  was  prompt  response  to  the  summons  hastily  sent  around,  and  the 
Russians  had  an  opportunity  to  dazzle  Yankee  maidens  with  their  glittering 
uniforms  and  to  waltz  with  them  at  an  improvised  "soiree  datisante."  These 
instances  are  drawn  from  the  many  to  which  the  memory  of  those  who  had 
the  good  fortune  to  participate  in  them  will  revert  with  pleasure  when 
recalling  the  happy  days  that  are  no  more. 

Mr.  Blaine  nowhere  appeared  to  better  advantage  or  seemed  happier  than 
at  his  home  at  Augusta.  He  had  a  great  affection  for  the  city  where  his  young 
manhood  was  passed,  and  for  the  people  who  gave  him  the  first  promotion  in 
his  career  and  faithfully  supported  him  in  his  subsequent  course.  The  home- 
coming was  oftentimes  a  physical  delight  ;  especially  when  the  "  long  session  " 
had  continued  into  the  heart  of  summer  and  he  had  left  behind  the  hot, 
stifling,  mid-summer  atmosphere  of  Washington,  to  breathe  the  clear,  healthful 
air  of  the  Kennebec  Valley,  and  soothe  his  eyes  by  resting  them  on  the  bush 
verdure  that  clothed  its  fields  and  hills.  It  was  also  a  mental  relief  from  the 
continuous  strain  of  his  exacting  congressional  duties ;  although  he  was  far 
from  returning  from  work  to  the  enjoyment  of  an  idle  holiday  season.  The 
duties  awaiting  him  at  home  were  for  the  most  part  of  a  kind  he  enjoyed,  and 
either  permitted  the  combination  of  pleasure  with  them  or  afforded  intervals  for 

As  already  indicated,  one  of  his  vacation  functions  was  the  supervision  of 
the  campaign  as  chairman  of  the  Republican  State  Committee.  His  colleagues 
of  that  committee,  members  of  local  committees,  candidates  for  State  offices,  and 
others  interested  in  politics,  made  up  a  steady  succession  of  visitors  to  the  home 
of  the  party  leader.  Through  these  visitors  Mr.  Blaine  became  thoroughly 
conversant  with  the  influences  at  work  to  affect  political  sentiment  and  the 
prospects  of  the  party  in  the  different  parts  of  the  State,  and  could,  therefore, 
intelligently  make  arrangements  to  meet  the  peculiar  requirements  of  each 
locality.  Whether  there  were  factional  contentions  to  be  quieted,  the  "disgruntled" 
and  disappointed  to  be  appeased  and  encouraged,  or  the  listless  and  lukewarm 
were  to  be  stimulated  to  interest  and  activity  inside  his  own  lines  ;  or  the  mis- 
representations, crafty  designs    and   weak    inventions  of  the    enemy  were  to  be 

208  LIFE   AND   WORK   OF  JAMES   G.    BLAINE. 

corrected,  checkmated  and  turned  to  their  own  confusion,  Mr.  Blaine's  tact  and 
experienced  wisdom  were  swift  to  hit  upon  the  course  to  be  taken,  and  his 
counsels  were  prompt,  clear  and  decided.  At  the  same  time  he  profited  by  these 
visits  to  renew  and  strengthen  the  ties  between  himself  and  old  friends  and 
co-workers,  and  to  ascertain  the  measure  and  quality  of  the  new  men,  par- 
ticularly the  young  men  coming  forward  into  the  political  arena.  And  few 
there  were  among  them  who  did  not  go  away  from  his  presence  confirmed  in 
zeal  for  the  cause  and  inspired  with  confidence  in  its  success  ;  filled  with 
admiration  at  the  ability  and  "smartness"  of  "Jim  Blaine" — as  he  was  often- 
times affectionately  or  derisively  called,  the  emphasis  and  intonation  marking 
the  intention  of  the  speaker — and,  under  the  spell  of  the  wonderful  magnetic 
power  of  presence  and  voice  and  eye  and  smile  and  warm  heartiness  of 
manner  that  even  his  enemies  have  always  conceded  to  Blaine,  not  only  feel- 
ing a  heightened  regard  for  him,  but  assured  that  the  sentiment  was  a 
mutual  one. 

Distinguished  speakers  from  other  States  also  were  to  be  entertained  and 
to  be  informed  as  to  the  conduct  of  the  campaign.  Blaine's  tactics  were  always 
of  the  aggressive  sort.  He  did  not  believe  in  allowing  the  enemy  to  dictate 
the  ground  and  conditions  of  the  battle,  nor  in  wasting  energy  by  standing  on 
the  defence  or  attacking  too  many  points  at  once.  He  sought  to  find  the  weak 
place  in  his  opponents'  line  and  when  found  he  concentrated  his  forces  upon  it 
and  hammered  away  at  it  with  merciless  persistence. 

In  addition  to  these  party  representatives  and  campaign  assistants  who 
thronged  about  the  chairman,  there  was  the  considerable  company  of  gentlemen 
and  their  "friends"  who  were  willing  to  take  service  under  the  Government 
and  desired  their  aspirations  to  be  made  known  through  the  medium  that  was 
believed  to  be  among  the  most  powerful ;  there  were  constituents  who  wished  to 
see  their  "  member"  on  business,  or  to  impart  their  "  views  "  to  him,  or  simply  to 
greet  him  on  his  return  home  ;  and  individuals  who,  coming  to  the  capital  on 
business  at  the  State-house  or  some  other  public  institution,  could  not  think  of 
reporting  to  the  people  at  home,  perhaps  in  farthest  Aroostook,  Washington  or 
York,  that  they  had  been  to  Augusta  and  had  not  "  had  a  chat  "  with  Blaine, 
or,  at  least,  shaken  hands  with  him.  His  relations  with  his  constituents  were 
reciprocally  close  and  appreciative.  They  gave  him  their  confidence  and  admira- 
tion, and  he  felt  a  pride  in  them  which  he  was  always  ready  to  justify  by 
instances  and  illustrations  of  their  title  to  respect  and  esteem.  His  personal 
acquaintance  among  them  was  very  extensive,  and  in  many  cases  partook  largely 
of  the  nature  of  affectionate  attachment,  akin  to  the  spirit  of  comradeship 
existing  in  student  life  and  among  soldiers — the  feeling  engendered  by  a 
common  aim  and  service.  The  frankness  and  bonhomie  of  Mr.  Blaine's  nature, 
his  alertness  of  mind  and  readily  awakened  interest  in  those  with  whom  he  came 
in  contact  and  in  the  subjects  they  were  interested  in,  and  the  faithfulness  of 
his  memory,  greatly  intensified  this  feeling. 

LIFE   AND   WORK   OF  JAMES   G.   BLAINE.  209 

Mr.  Blaine  attracted  much  regard  and  affection  because  he  gave  much.  He 
■was  extremely  fond  of  meeting  the  strong,  original  characters  among  his  con- 
stituents. It  mattered  not  whether  they  were  rich  or  poor,  learned  or  unlearned ; 
he  delighted  in  freshness  and  independence  of  thought  and  speech,  and  if 
accompanied  by  a  little  brusqueness  or  eccentricity  of  manner,  as  is  usually  the 
case,  it  was  all  the  better  and  more  enjoyable.  He  quoted  with  glee  the 
contemptuous  inquiry  of  the  veteran  "  practical  politician  "  from  a  remote 
part  of  the  district,  when  the  movement  in  behalf  of  reform  was  in  its  early 
stage,  "  what's  this  Civil  Service  Reform  they're  talking  about  ?  Jest  a  new 
way  of  appointing  clerks,  ain't  it  ?"  The  dry  remark  of  one  of  the  oldest  of  his 
fellow-townsmen,  whose  "  wit  was  not  out,"  though  "  his  age  was  in,''  were 
ofteu  repeated  by  him  with  appreciative  enjoyment.  He  was  particularly  fond  of 
the  conclusion  which  the  old  man  was  wont  to  draw  when  in  a  retrospective 
mood  he  compared  the  days  of  his  youth,  when  the  world  was  young  and  as 
yet  the  "  Maine  Law "  was  not,  with  the  tameness  of  life  in  the  present  day, 
and  sighed  regretfully,  "  we  used  to  have  a  good  deal  better  times  in  the  last 
cent'r}'  than  we're  having  this." 

One  of  the  secrets  of  the  charm  which  Mr.  Blaine  exercised  over  all  with 
whom  he  conversed  lay  in  the  tact  which  brought  out  their  taste  and 
interest,  and  the  courtesy  and  skill  with  which  he  turned  the  conversation  to 
those  subjects.  With  the  scholar  he  would  talk  of  books  and  reading  as 
enthusiastically  as  if  he  thought  the  life  of  a  "  book-worm  "  the  only  one  worth 
living,  and  the  man  who  thought  the  earth  had  no  pleasure  like  "spinning 
over  the  road  at  a  cheerful  gait  "  behind  a  Knox  colt,  felt  sure  after  "  talking 
horse  "  with  him,  that  Mr.  Blaine  was,  after  all,  a  kindred  spirit.  In  the  presence 
of  the  fond  parent  he  did  not  forget  the  promising  son,  and  the  son  of  a  father 
who  was  in  any  way  distinguished  blushed  with  the  reflected  glory  cast  upon 
him.  The  variety  of  pursuits  followed  by  his  constituents  afforded  a  wide  range 
of  topics,  and  Mr.  Blaine  could  be  equally  entertaining  to  his  listeners  whether 
he  showed  knowledge  of  matters  pertaining  to  his  occupation  or  manifested  an 
interest  in  being  informed  about  it. 

In  this  course  he  was  not  insincere  or  influenced  entirely  by  politic  con- 
siderations. The  courtesy  that  seeks  to  please  for  pleasing  sake  is  quite  different 
from  the  craft  that  beguiles  for  selfish  ends.  The  desire  to  please  was  in  him 
the  outgrowth  of  a  generous  disposition.  His  mind,  too,  was  confined  to  no 
narrow  rut,  but  delighted  in  exploring  every  path  that  was  opened  before  it. 
His  interest  and  sympathies  were  "  as  broad  and  general  as  the  casing  air." 
Of  him  it  can  be  more  truly  said  than  of  any  other  man  prominently  before 
this  generation,  "  he  was  a  man  and  nothing  relating  to  man  was  foreign  to 
him."  He  possessed  in  a  high  degree  skill  in  "  the  art  of  putting  things." 
The  following  is  an  example  of  his  readiness  and  point : — 

After  his  nomination  as  a  candidate  for  the  presidency,  he  was  called  upon 
by  an  influential  member  of  the  Society  of  Friends — a  society  which   has  several 

210  LIFE   AND   WORK   OF  JAMES   G.    BLAINE. 

communities  and  many  representatives  in  the  old  Third  District — and  a  highly- 
respected  friend  of  the  candidate  as  well.  "  Friend  James,"  said  the  man  of 
plain  speech,  "  I  have  come  early  to  see  thee  because  in  all  likelihood  cares  are  likely 
to  increase  upon  thee  rapidly,  and  there  is  a  matter  I  earnestly  desire  to  interest 
thee  in.  Thee  knows  that  our  people  have  greatly  at  heart  the  welfare  of  the 
Indian  tribes.  If  thee  shall  be  called  to  the  high  office  of  President  we  desire  to 
feel  that  that  unfortunate  people  will  have  in  thee  a  friend  willing  to  exercise  his 
powers  for  their  good."  "  Friend  William,"  was  the  quick  response,  "members 
of  my  family  are  to-day  living  in  Pennsylvania  upon  lands  purchased  of  the 
Indians  by  our  ancestor.  Now  is  it  likely  that  I  should  be  otherwise  than 
kindly  disposed  to  the  Indians?"  "Friend  James,  I  think  we  can  trust  thee," 
was  the  satisfactory  conclusion  of  the  interview. 

"  Stumping,"  walking  and  driving  were  his  chief  physical  exercises  and 
recreations.  Speaking  is  in  itself  a  good  exercise  and  brings  into  play  a  greater 
portion  of  the  human  framework  and  organs,  and  tests  the  bodily  strength  more 
severely  than  those  without  experience  would  believe  possible.  Mr.  Blaine  was 
a  forcible,  energetic  speaker,  and  „a  speech  gave  him  as  much  exercise  as  a  bout 
in  a  gymnasium.  He  seemed  to  enjoy  addressing  his  fellow  citizens  in  exciting 
political  campaigns,  but  to  take  care  not  to  allow  his  zeal  to  carry  him  too  far 
and  imperil  his  physical  powers.  "Stumping  the  State"  implied  a  good  deal 
of  touring  and  picnicking  as  well  as  speech-making,  and  herein  was  recreation 
of  the  most  agreeable  kind  to  him. 

The  attractions  of  Maine  as  a  summer  resort  for  seekers  after  health  and 
the  pleasing  and  picturesque  in  scenery  are  becoming  well  known  throughout 
the  country.  There  could  not  be  devised  a  more  pleasing  itinerary  for  a  summer 
holiday  season  than  the  yachting  trips  along  its  coast  and  into  its  deeply 
penetrating  bays,  and  the  drives  through  its  fragrant,  cool  woods,  over  its  hills 
commanding  far-reaching  stretches  of  forest  and  field,  with  frequent  lakes  and 
streams  interspersed,  which  were  necessary  in  campaigning,  and  served  greatly 
to  soften  whatever  asperities  attended  it.  The  cordial  and  enthusiastic  reception 
that  every  public  gathering  gave  him,  and  the  hearty  greetings  of  political  and 
personal  friends  at  every  halting-place  served  as  a  complement  to  the  pleasures 
of  the  tour  and  to  make  of  it  a  gala  progress.  Especially  happy  were  the  occasions 
when  the  appointment  was  within  the  compass  of  a  day's  drive,  and  he  could 
take  Mrs.  Blaine  or  a  family  party  with  him,  rest  near  some  picturesque  way- 
side spring  for  a  picnic  luncheon,  and  return  home  after  the  meeting  through 
the  coolness  and  beauty  of  the  summer  evening. 

Driving  was  one  of  his  favorite  recreations — perhaps  first  among  them.  It 
was  a  rare  combination  of  pleasures  both  to  the  driver  and  his  fares  when 
Mr.  Blaine  drew  the  reins  over  a  pair  of  spirited  horses,  and  with  a  party  of 
friends,  among  them  frequently  some  guest  of  national  fame,  explored  the  roads 
that  checker  the  beautiful  and  diversified  country  of  Kennebec  County.  Talk 
grave    and    gay,  jest    and    repartee    and    mirth    and  laughter,  mingled  with  the 


sound  of  the  beating  hoofs  and  the  rattle  of  harness,  and  marked  all  the  way 
as  they  sped  on  under  leafy  arches  and  by  smiling  fields,  and  long  as  the  drive 
usually  was,  it  seemed  all  too  short  when,  in  the  gloaming,  it  came  to  an  end. 
He  was  a  skillful  "  whip"  and  safe  driver.  His  own  family  horses  were  selected 
for  gentleness  as  well  as  spirit,  but  he  enjoyed  testing  his  mettle  as  a  "holder 
of  the  ribbons." 

One  incident  of  a  visit  in  California  he  used  to  speak  of  as  if  he  renewed 
in  the  retrospect  the  "  pleasing  fear  "  of  its  excitement.  His  host,  one  of  the 
celebrated  "  nobs "  of  California,  whose  house  and  appointments  were  on  a 
princely  scale,  took  him  and  a  party  of  friends  on  a  four-in-hand  drive  to  the 
ranch  of  a  neighbor,  twenty-five  or  thirty  miles  distant.  Mr.  Blaine  sat  on  the 
box  by  the  side  of  his  host,  who  was  driving,  and  he  soon  perceived  that  the 
mettle  of  the  horses  was  fast  overpowering  the  strength  and  skill  of  his  friend, 
and  that  the  danger-point  was  very  near.  The  friend  confessed  his  alarm, 
whereupon  Mr.  Blaine  took  the  leaders  in  hand  and  both  together  had  all  they 
could  do  to  maintain  sufficient  control  of  their  respective  charges  to  bring  a 
wild  ride  to  a  safe  conclusion  at  the  journey's  end. 

Mr.  Blaine  was  a  great  lover  of  horses  ;  not  as  a  connoisseur  in  horseflesh, 
but  as  an  admirer  of  the  strength,  beauty  and  high  courage  of  the  noble 
specimens  of  the  animal.  The  horse,  more  than  any  other  of  the  animal  tribe, 
exemplifies  power  in  action  ;  and  kinship  in  nature  with  this  quality,  no  doubt, 
had  its  part  in  the  attraction  the  strong  man,  who  rejoiced  in  his  strength  in 
the  fields  where  his  own  courses  were  run,  felt  towards  the  kingly  beast  that 
"smelleth  the  battle  afar  off,  the  thunder  of  the  captains  and  the  shouting." 
His  stable  was  on  the  same  modest  scale  as  the  rest  of  his  establishment  and 
seldom  contained  more  than  three  horses. 

Walking  was  also  an  agreeable  exercise  to  him,  and  his  constitutionals  took 
him  often  far  afield  in  the  country  about  Augusta.  He  was  a  brisk  walker, 
the  vivacity  of  his  temperament  and  the  strength  of  his  vital  powers  appearing 
in  this  as  in  his  other  actions,  both  bodily  and  mental.  His  erect  form  and 
firm,  quick  step  gave  him  the  air  of  an  athlete.  His  walks  were  taken  alone 
or  in  company,  as  his  convenience  and  the  chance  of  companionship  might  serve. 
Neither  did  he  have  any  rules  as  to  their  time  or  extent.  In  walking  or 
driving  he  appeared  to  have  that  reasonable  love  of  nature  and  observation  of 
its  charms  common  to  all  well-balanced  minds ;  perhaps  his  keen  powers  of 
perception  gave  him  a  greater  regard  for  it  than  men  like  him,  whose  genius 
was  practical  rather  than  poetical,  generally  have.  If,  on  the  one  hand,  he  did  not 
have  a  Wordsworthian  enthusiasm  for  nature,  he  certainly  did  not  have  that 
obliviousness  and  indifference  to  its  protean  aspects  which  characterized  Rufus 
Choate,  whose  biographer  relates  that,  walking  one  exceptionally  beautiful  spring 
morning  on  the  Common  with  him,  he  saw  Choate's  countenance  light  up  as 
his  eyes  seemed  to  take  in  the  lovely  scene,  and  as  he  opened  his  lips  the 
friend  thought  the  great  orator  was  about   to  acknowledge  the  sweet  influences 


of  the  morning ;  but,  instead,  the  man  of  books  and  introspective  life  broke  forth 
with  "  How  fine  is  that  sentence  of  Southey's  on  the  death  of  Nelson,  in  the 
hour  of  victory — '  That  joy,   that  consolation,  that  triumph,   was  his!'" 

Mr.  Blaine's  public  utterances  and  papers  were  entirely  free  from  merely 
rhetorical  and  ornamental  use  of  literature.  He  made  no  pedantic  excursions  to 
Greece  or  Rome,  culled  no  flowers  from  English  classics.  He  was  always  too 
much  in  earnest,  too  eager  to  accomplish  some  definite  purpose,  to  use  other  than 
the  most  straightforward  language  and  the  plainest  illustrations  tending  to  the 
end  in  view.  But  in  conversation  he  showed  a  familiarity  with  the  best  litera- 
ture which  proved  that  at  some  period  of  his  life  he  had  had  a  student's  curiosity 
to  explore  its  fields.  His  knowledge  of  general  history  and  its  great  men  was 
full  and  exact.  The  political  annals  of  his  own  country  had  nothing  which  he 
had  not  made  his  own,  and  the  statesmen  and  leaders  of  its  past  were  as  clearly 
before  him  as  his  contemporaries. 

The  library  at  the  Augusta  home  did  not  contain  a  large  number  of 
volumes,  but  the  books  upon  the  shelves,  and  piled  on  table,  chairs  and  floor,  for 
service  past  or  at  hand,  constituted  a  good  working  equipment  for  a  statesman 
and  student  of  politics.  Near  him  by  a  short  walk  was  the  State  Library,  in 
which  Mr.  Blaine  had  taken  great  interest  when  he  was  a  member  of  the  Legis- 
lature, and  to  which  he  had  rendered  a  special  and  valuable  service  by  discover- 
ing an  unfinished  remnant  of  space  in  the  crowded  building  and  causing  it  to 
be  fitted  up  for  its  occupancy.  He  found  time  to  read  whatever  in  current 
literature  "  everybody  was  reading,"  and  could  sympathize  with  his  children  in 
their  impatience  for  the  next  chapter  of  "  Little  Lord  Fauntleroy." 

If  Pope's  dictum  be  accepted  as  true,  Mr.  Blaine  was  orthodox.  His 
"proper''  and  favorite  study  was  "men."  He  liked  to  meet  and  know  men  in 
books,  but  his  preference  was  for  live  men.  One  of  the  greatest  attractions  of 
Washington's  life  to  him  was  the  facilities  it  affords  for  contact  with  the 
strongest  and  most  brilliant  minds  of  the  country,  and  distinguished  represent- 
ative men  of  other  countries,  either  sojourning  at  the  capital  or  visiting  it  in 
the  course  of  their  travels.  The  rare  social  and  conversational  talents  that 
distinguished  him  nearly  as  much  as  his  abilities  and  achievements  as  a  states- 
man and  parliamentarian,  brought  him  into  social  relations  with  everybody  of 
distinction  at  the  National  Capital.  How  welcome  to  the  world  would  be  the 
memoirs  and  table-talk  of  such  a  man  and  such  a  life. 

The  daily  papers  which  chronicled  everything  relating  in  any  way  to  the 
invalid  whose  apparently  mortal  illness  was  watched  with  solicitude  and 
sympathy  by  his  countrymen,  noticed  that  an  organ-grinder  was  one  day 
playing  in  front  of  the  house,  apparently  at  request,  and,  it  was  supposed,  for 
the  pleasure  of  the  sick  man  within  ;  and  they  remarked  upon  his  fondness 
for  popular  music.  The  papers  were  right  for  once,  at  least.  Mr.  Blaine  was 
exceedingly  fond  of  lively  and  pleasing  airs — tunes  that  are  whistled.  "  Pinafore" 
was  a  great  favorite,  and    he  hardly  missed  an  opportunity  of  listening  to  that 



captivating  burlesque.  There  were  sometimes  informal  matinees  at  the  Augusta 
home,  when  the,  call  of  some  musical  friend  would  be  "  improved  "  by  the  host, 
who  would  keep  on  suggesting  this  and  that  from  Gilbert  and  Sullivan,  as 
long  as  consideration  for  the  performer  would  permit. 

In  organization  of  both  mind  and  body,  he  was  eminently  sound,  whole- 
some and  sane;  yet,  in  proof  that  he  lived  "like  other  people"  he  had  some 
peculiarities  which  could  hardly  be  considered  personal,  inasmuch  as  he  shared 
them  with  large  numbers  of  people  in  other  respects  strictly  conformed  to  the 
normal  standard.  He  had  at  least  one  pet  superstition.  It  is  not  remembered 
that     he    ever    went    hungry    rather    than  sit    thirteen    at    table;     but,    just    as 


Dr.  Johnson  disliked  passing  by  a  post  in  his  walks  without  touching  it,  so 
Mr.  Blaine  preferred  not  to  make  one  of  the  unlucky  number,  and  would  avoid 
doing  so  if  possible.  He  was  "  spleeny  "  about  his  health  and  bodily  condition. 
Not  that  he  ever  put  on  airs  of  invalidism  or  allowed  his  anxiety  to  be 
apparent ;  but  his  physician  and  intimate  friends  knew  that  he  took  note  of 
the  slightest  twinge  or  ill-feeling  and  wanted  an  explanation  of  it,  and  to  be 
assured  that  it  was  not  a  symptom  of  some  insidious  ailment,  before  he  could 
be  perfectly  easy  in  mind.  The  precautions  he  took  to  keep  well  were  such  as 
prudent    men    ordinarily  take — exercise,  care  in  eating  and    drinking,    sufficient 


sleep,  and  the  avoidance  of  excess  in  anything.  He  neither  disdained  the  pleasures 
of  the  table  nor  enjoyed  them  as  a  gourmand.  He  drank  no  spirits,  and  but 
little  wine  ;  his  wit  did  not  require  the  provocation  of  stimulants  to  shine  forth  at 
the  dinner-table.  The  rule  laid  down  by  some  celebrated  physician,  "  abstinence 
till  forty,  then  temperance,"   was  often  quoted  by  him  with  approval. 

The  support  of  a  family  which  in  these  days  may  be  considered  large ;  the 
expense  attending  frequent  changes  of  residence  from  Augusta  to  Washington 
and_back  ;  and  the  liberal  and  hospitable  way  of  living  that  characterized  the 
household,  must  have  absorbed  his  salary  and  made  drafts  upon  his  income 
from  other  sources  as  well.  While  Mr.  Blaine  was  not  regarded  by  his  fellow- 
townsmen  as  a  wealthy  man,  it  was  generally  believed  by  them  that  he  was  in 
receipt  of  handsome  returns  from  coal  fields  in  Pennsylvania,  which  his  knowledge 
of  his  native  State  and  sagacity  in  foreseeing  the  developments  of  the  near 
future,  had  led  him  to  purchase  earl}'  in  the  war,  when  they  could  be  bought 
at  a  low  price,  because  of  their  remoteness  from  means  of  transportation.  When 
facilities  for  carriage  were  supplied  these  fields  at  once  became  valuable  for 
mining  purposes.  In  making  investments  he  was  advised  and  aided  by  shrewd 
and  able  men  of  business  among  his  friends.  If  Daniel  Webster  had  friends 
and  admirers  ready  to  contribute  to  supply  the  frequent  deficiencies  in  that 
improvident  statesman's  exchequer,  it  can  easily  be  conjectured  that  James  G. 
Blaine,  whose  friends  were  not  less  ardent  in  their  attachment,  had  many  oppor- 
tunities for  profitable  ventures  presented  to  him  by  men  who  knew  whereof  they 
spoke.  In  later  years  his  book,  "  Twenty  Years  of  Congress,"  and  other  fruits 
of  literary  labor,  added  materially  to  his  income. 

The  fact  that  the  mother  of  James  G.  Blaine  was  a  communicant  of  the 
Roman  Catholic  Church  gave  occasion  for  the  frequently  recurring  rumors  that 
were  rife  that  he  had  confessed  that  faith.  Soon  after  taking  up  his  residence 
at  Augusta  he  united  with  the  South  Parish  Congregational  Church,  and  was  a 
faithful  attendant  upon  its  sendees  whenever  he  was  at  home.  His  church 
never  questioned  his  loyalty.  His  was  not  a  nature  to  be  bound  narrowly  by 
any  creed.  Those  who  knew  him  long  and  well  cannot  but  consider  that  the  por- 
tion of  his  memorable  eulogy  on  his  chief  and  friend,  Garfield,  which  relates  to 
the  religious  side  of  the  martyred  President's  life,  is  applicable  to  the  eulogist  as 
well ;  that  both  had  the  same  reliance  on  the  great  truths  of  the  Christian  faith, 
the  same  regard  for  "  the  simpler  instincts  of  religion,"  and  an  equal  spirit  of  gen- 
erous tolerance  and  true  catholicity.  No  man's  belief  can  be  positively  known. 
Conduct  is  the  test  of  character  before  the  world.  In  his  attitude  towards  his  fellow- 
men,  by  blamelessness  of  life,  uprightness  of  character,  openness  and  simplicity 
of  manner,  and  purity  of  thought  and  speech,  Blaine  was  a  Christian  gentleman. 

Six  children  survived  to  maturity — three  sons  and  three  daughters — Walker, 
the  eldest  of  these,  was  born  in  Augusta,  May  8,  1S55.  He  fitted  for  college 
at  the  Augusta  High  School,  entered  Harvard  in  1S73,  left  there  at  the  close 
of   his  sophomore  year  and    finished    his    course    at    Yale,  graduating    in    1877. 



After  two  years  at  the  Columbia  Law  School  he  entered  the  office  of  Hon. 
Cushmau  K.  Davis,  at  St.  Paul.  When  his  father  entered  the  cabinet  of  Garfield 
in  1881,  Walker  went  with  him,  and  the  last  official  act  of  Garfield  was  the 
appointment  of  Walker  Blaine  as  Third  Assistant  Secretary  of  State.  Subse- 
quently he  was  appointed  assistant  to  Governor  Creswell,  counsel  for  the 
United  States  before  the  Alabama  Claims  Commission.  He  made  a  trip  to 
Alaska  in  1S83  and  wrote  a  very  interesting  account  of  it.  He  was  a  ready 
writer  and  speaker,  and  a  frequent  contributor  to  the  New  York  Tribune  and 
leading  magazines.  He  died,  unmarried,  January  15,  1890.  At  the  time  of  his 
death  he  was  examiner  of  claims  in  the  State  Department. 



Walker  Blaine  bore  a  strong  resemblance  to  his  father  in  personal  appear- 
ance, manner  and  characteristics.  His  death  in  the  early  years  of  his  manhood, 
when  he  was  entering  upon  the  successful,  career  his  friends  predicted  for  him, 
was  a  severe  blow  to  the  family,  especially  to  the  father,  who  lost  in  him  a 
valuable  assistant  as  well  as  a  dearly  loved  son. 

Alice  Blaine,  the  eldest  daughter,  married  Colonel  J.  J.  Coppinger,  of  the 
army,  in  February,  1883,  and  died  at  her  father's  house  in  Washington, 
February  2,  1890,  leaving  two  sons,  Blaine,  born  1883,  and  Connor,  born  in  18S5, 
who  lived  a  large  part  of  their  infant  years  with  their  maternal  grandparents, 
and  seemed  to  inherit  their  mother's  share  of  her  parents'  love  in  addition  to 
that  which  they  held  in  their  own  right. 

21 1 ;  LIFE   AND   WORK   OF  JAMES   G.    BLAINE. 

Emmons  Blaine  was  a  graduate  from  Harvard  in  1878.  He  Had  marked 
ability  and  taste  for  business,  and  engaging  in  railroad  management  he  rapidly 
advanced  to  important  and  responsible  positions.  He  was  courteous  and  popular 
and  had  a  wide  circle  of  warm  friends.  He  died  after  a  brief  illness,  in  June, 
1892.  His  wife,  to  whom  he  had  been  married  but  a  short  time,  was  Miss 
McCormick,  of  Chicago. 

Margaret  Blaine  was  married  to  Mr.  Walter  Damrosch,  the  well-known 
musical  composer  and  conductor,  and  resides  in  New  York.  The  two  youngest 
of  the  family,  Harriet  and  James  G.  Blaine,  Jr.,  keep,  with  their  mother,  the 
stricken  and  shadowed  home. 

The  Augusta  home  of  James  G.  Blaine,  once  the  scene  of  abounding  life, 
activity  and  happiness,  is  now  untenanted,  dark,  lifeless  and  joyless.  It  is 
hallowed  by  memories  of  a  family  life,  having  mutual  affection  for  its  soul  and 
guide  ;  of  neighborly  welcome  to  good  cheer  and  pleasant  converse ;  of  the  open 
door  and  the  open  hand  to  the  poor  and  needy  who  never  turned  from  its 
threshold  uncomforted. 

It  is  also  a  place  of  historic  interest.  From  an  improvised  platform  in  the 
corner  of  these  home  grounds  the  chairman  of  the  committee  of  the  convention 
which  nominated  Mr.  Blaine  for  the  presidency  made  the  formal  announcement 
to  the  candidate  in  the  presence  of  the  large  number  of  the  committee,  and  of 
the  friends  and  fellow-citizens  who  were  in  attendance.  From  these  steps, 
shaded  b}'  the  maples  that  screen  the  house-front  from  the  street,  the  defeated 
candidate  addressed  his  political  friends  in  a  calm,  philosophic  strain  upon  the 
causes  of  defeat,  and  with  words  of  cheer  for  the  future. 

In  that  room,  both  office  and  library,  ticked  the  little  fateful  instrument 
that  told  of  disaster  and  disappointment  when  hope  and  expectation  had  been 
high.  Many  of  the  greatest  and  most  famous  men  of  the  time  have  been 
familiar  guests  within  its  walls.  In  the  perilous  days  of  the  "count-out,"  when 
a  rival  state  government  threatened  the  peace  of  the  State,  leaders  in  the  party 
from  all  sections  of  the  endangered  commonwealth,  assembled  in  that  long 
parlor  and  conferred  together,  with  all  the  anxious  solemnity  imposed  by  the 
imminence  of  tumult  and  bloodshed,  upon  the  means  of  securing  justice  and 
averting  civil  war ;  and  the  host  was  the  quiet,  courageous  and  wise  director  of 
their  deliberations. 

The  fame  of  that  little  spot  of  .earth  is  secure.  There  lived  "  The  Man 
from  Maine." 



|fN  instances  not  a  few  the    public    men  of  our    country, 

leaders    of    affairs    and    sentiment,  have    sought,  near 

the  close  of  their  lives,  a  period  of  repose  and  seclusion 

from     the     excitement     and     worry    which    were    the 

necessary  incidents  of  their  careers.     Thus,  for  many 

years,  did  the  elder    Adams    and  Jefferson ;    thus    did 

the  Father  of  His    Country  attempt    to   gain    respite 

and  peace  in   his  old  days ;    thus    did   Jackson    at  the 

Hermitage  ;  Webster,  at  Marshfield ;  Clay,  at  Ashlaud. 

Our    statesmen    have    generally  been    rational    enough    to    desire 

some    interval  of   repose    before  the  closing    scene.       Many  have 

been    forced    into    retirement    and    others,    diligently  seeking    it, 

have  found  it  not.     A  majority  have  died  in  the  act  and  article 

of  publicity.     Not  a  few  have  fallen  in  and  around  the  Capitol, 

where  their  supreme  energies  have  been   expended. 

It  does  not  appear  that  Mr.  Blaine  ever  studiously  sought 
retirement  from  public  life.  He  often  spoke  to  his  friends  about 
it  as  a  thing  desirable.  He  was  wont  to  express  the  wish  that 
he  might  free  himself  from  the  cares  and  anxieties  of  office. 
But  his  temperament  was  not  well  adapted  to  seclusion  and  rest. 
His  life  was  under  the  law  of  action,  of  unrest,  of  ambition. 
The  probability  is  that  he  entertained  vaguely  the  notion  and  desire  of  retire- 
ment from  the  public  gaze  ;  but  it  can  hardly  be  doubted  that  the  wish  remained 
that  the  public  gaze  might  follow  him  and  rest  upon  him.  He  was  not  a  man 
of  seclusion.     His  habits  were  fixed  by  publicity  and  adapted  to  it. 

Circumstances,  however,  make  and  unmake  the  destinies  of  men.  The  law 
of  the  relation  of  the  circumstance  to  the  will  has  never  been  determined. 
But  we  may  allow  to  the  former  a  very  strong  influence  in  limiting  the 
action  of  the  latter.  It  was  the  vicissitude  of  public  life  that  brought 
Blaine  near  the  close  of  his  career  into  an  extended  period  of  retirement. 
This  covered  the  interval  between  his  first  and  second  service  in  the  office  of 
Secretary  of  State,  and  also  the  interval  after  his  resignation  from  the  Harrison 

It  should  be  remarked  that  his  going  out  of  the  State  Department  was  in 
each  case  contrived  by  historical  conditions  and  was  not  the  result  of   his   own 




antecedent  purpose  or  desire.  In  the  one  case,  the  assassination  of  the  President, 
and  in  the  other  the  peculiar  political  maelstrom  that  whirled  around  determined 
the  event. 

Mr.  Blaine  had,  during  the  interval  of  his  retirement  from  public  office, 
three  residences,  all  of  which  have  acquired  fame  by  the  fame  of  the  occupant. 
The  first  of  these  was  in  Washington  City,  on  the  east  side  of  Lafayette  Park, 
near  Pennsylvania  Avenue.  It  was  the  large  red-brick  house  which  was  already 
celebrated  as  the  former  residence  of  Secretary  Seward.  There,  in  an  upper 
room,  on  the  evening  of  the  fatal  fourteenth  of  April,  1865,  the  assassin  Powell 
had  sprung  upon  the  couch  of  the  sick  Secretary  of  State  and  desperately 
attempted  to  stab  him  to  death.     The  house  and  the  surroundings  are    all   his- 


torical — much  more  so  since  they  have  been  the  scene  of  the  last  days  of 
James  G.    Blaine. 

The  second  home  of  the  statesman  was  his  old  place  in  Augusta.  For  this 
he  always  retained  a  fond  desire,  and  was,  for  many  years,  glad  when  opportunity 
came  to  re-occupy  that  house  where  he  had  passed  his  early  life.  From  that 
station  he  had  risen  to  national  fame.  It  may  be  doubted  whether  a  man  ever 
actually  fits  himself  with  completeness  and  harmony  into  any  home  but  one.  If 
we  should  select  among  the  places  in  which  Mr.  Blaine  has  lived,  that  one 
which,  in  the  natuie  of  the  case,  answers  best  to  the  name  of  home,  we  should 
have  to   choose  the  old  house  in  Augusta. 

The  advantages  of  a  summer  seaside  residence  appealed  to  Mr.  Blaine  and 
led  him  to  select  for  his  third  home  his  place  at  Bar  Harbor,  Maine.    The  name 


220  LIFE   AND   WORK   OF  JAMES   G.   BLAINE. 

of  Bar  Harbor  lias  now  become  iudissolubly  associated  with  that  of  Blaine — 
more  so,  indeed,  than  either  of  his  other  homes.  In  this  connection,  there  is  an 
element  of  picturesqneness  and  poetry  which  we  should  not  expect  to  find  in  a 
Washington  residence  or  even  in  the  home  at  Augusta. 

The  Bar  Harbor  villa  of  Mr.  Blaine  is  situated  on  Mount  Desert  Island. 
From  it  a  splendid  view  of  the  Bay  of  Mount  Desert  is  had.  In  the  last  years 
of  the  statesman  he  became  greatly  attached  to  this  place.  A  tradition  goes 
that  he  had,  during  the  larger  part  of  his  life,  had  his  eye  upon  Mount  Desert 
Island  as  a  possible  summer  resort  and  home  for  himself  and  family.  He  was 
wont  to  tell  visitors  of  a  time  when  he  might  have  purchased  the  island  for 
five  hundred  dollars!  That  was  in  1S56.  At  that  time  Mr.  Blaine  was  in  the 
Legislature  of  the  State.  The  representative  occupying  the  next  seat  was  called 
"  old  man  "  Rodick.  The  latter  invited  Mr.  Blaine  to  his  home,  and  he  accepted 
the  invitation.  Rodick  owned  the  island  and  when  Mr.  Blaine  expressed  his 
admiration  for  the  place  and  rejoiced  in  the  sea  view,  the  proprietor  offered  to 
sell  it  to  him  for  five  hundred  dollars. 

The  Blaine  villa  is  surrounded  with  a  broad  veranda,  and  the  porches  where 
the  family  were  wont  to  spend  the  greater  portion  of  their  time  during  their 
summer  residence  are  broad  and  commodious.  The  air  here  is  exhilarating  and 
the  view  of  the  sea  is  full  of  inspiration  and  grandeur.  In  his  last  years  Mr. 
Blaine  spent  much  of  his  time  on  the  porch  of  the  Bar  Harbor  villa,  where  he 
was  delighted  to  have  his  grandchildren  playing  around  and  to  enjoy  his  own 
reverie.  Thither  also,  many  distinguished  people  came.  Though  Mount  Desert 
is  a  secluded  place,  seclusion  with   Blaine  was  impossible. 

We  have  spoken  above  of  his  residences  in  Washington.  The  first  of  these 
was  the  house  Number  821,  in  West  Fifteenth  Street.  Here  he  lived  during  the 
first  ten  years  of  his  congressional  career  About  1873-74  he  determined  to 
build  for  himself  a  new  and  elegant  residence.  He  chose  as  the  site  a  situation 
on  Dupont  Circle.  The  house  was  expensive  and  showy,  but  for  some  reason 
was  never  admired  or  much  occupied  by  the  owner.  It  got  for  itself,  indeed, 
the  name  of  "  Blaine's  Folly."  The  owner  spent  about  eighty-five  thousand 
dollars  on  the  house,  and  subsequently  rented  it  to  Mr.  Leiter,  at  twelve  thousand 
dollars  per  annum.  The  place  is  now  known,  and  has  been  for  many  years, 
as    the  Leiter  House. 

The  third  Washington  residence  is  the  Seward  house  referred  to  above.  It 
was  built  in  the  early  part  of  the  fifth  decade,  and  was  first  occupied  by  Secre- 
tary Spencer,  whose  son,  for  an  alleged  mutiny,  was  hanged  at  sea.  Afterwards 
the  Washington  Club  occupied  the  building,  and  it  was  in  the  street  in  front  of 
it  that  Philip  Barton  Key  was  shot  to  death  by  General  Daniel  E.  Sickles.  In 
addition  to  the  attempted  assassination  of  Seward,  other  shadows  have  settled 
upon  the  place.  The  wife  of  Secretary  Belknap  died  there  in  an  unexpected 
hour.  Between  1890  and  1S93,  the  two  eldest  children  of  James  G.  Blaine — 
Walker  Blaine  and  Mrs.  Coppinger — died    here,  and    here    the    great    Secretary 



himself  breathed  his  last.     Really  the  house  is  likely  to  become  haunted    with 
a  suspicion  of  death  and  disaster. 

It  is  thought  that  the  assassination  of  Garfield  and  Blaine's  consequent 
resignation  from  the  Cabinet  led  to  his  abandonment  of  the  Dupont  Circle  house. 
Afterwards  he  never  lived  there.  When  with  the  election  of  Harrison  he  was 
appointed  Secretary  of  State  he  took  up  his  residence  in  the  Seward  house  on 
Lafayette  Square,  and  there  remained  almost  constantly  until  his  death. 


We  have  already  spoken,  time  and  again,  of  Mr.  Blaine's  work  in 
literature.  His  history  of  the  public  life  of  the  nation,  from  the  accession  of 
Lincoln  to  the  administration  of  Garfield,  is  one  of  the  standard  works  of  the 
epoch.  This  he  produced  in  the  time  of  his  retirement  from  public  office.  The 
first  volume  was  written  before  1SS4  when  he  became  a  candidate  for  the  presi- 
dency, and  the  second  volume  after  his  defeat.  It  is  perhaps  to  the  combined 
effect  of  ambition  and  disappointment  that  we  owe  the  production  of  this 
invaluable  contribution  to  our  literature. 

James  G.  Blaine  was  an  assiduous  worker.  Few  men,  who  have  appeared  in  the 
public  life  of  the  American  nation,  have  applied  themselves  more   industriously 



and  persistently  than  he.  Of  course,  many  have  produced  more  in  composition  ; 
but  we  are  to  remember  that  the  recluse,  the  man  in  private  life,  has  opportunity 
to  produce  without  hindrance  or  distraction,  from  day  to  day,  and  from  mouth 
to  month. 

Probably  the  politician,  least  of  all  men,  has  such  opportunity.  He  is  every 
man's  man  and  is  so  reckoned  in  the  catalogue.  It  is  with  the  utmost  difficulty 
that  the  man  in  public  life  is  able  to  seclude  himself  and  concentrate  his  powers 
upon  a  subject  with  sufficient  emphasis  and  persistency  to  accomplish  anything 
in  a  literarv  way.  Blaine  triumphed  over  this  obstacle.  He  wrote  much,  both 
in  office  and  out  of  office.     His  principal  literary  work  was    produced    when    he 

was  out  of  office  ;  but  his  other 
productions  are  so  multifarious 
and  extensive  that  they  would, 
if  collected,  furnish  the  subject- 
matter  of  maii}r  volumes.  A 
large  part  of  the  author's  time, 
between  the  date  of  his  retire- 
ment from  the  Arthur  Cabinet 
and  his  canvass  for  the  presi- 
dency, was  consumed  at  the  desk. 
There  he  prepared,  with  great 
care,  the  first  volume  of  his 
history   of  Congress. 

The  greater  part  of  the  last 
ten  years,  covering  his  period 
of  retirement  from  office,  was 
spent  by  Mr.  Blaine  in  Wash- 
ington. In  1S87  he  was  abroad 
in  Europe.  When  in  the  United 
States  he  passed  the  greater 
part  of  his  time  in  summer  at 
Bar  Harbor.  His  visits  t  o 
ex-speaker  thomas  b.  reed,  of  maine.  Augusta,      after     18S4,    became 

infrequent.  There  was  an  evidence  of  inactivity  and  of  breaking  health  in  his  life 
and  manner.  We  have  referred  to  his  sunstroke  in  1876.  Eleven  years  afterwards 
he  had  a  slight  attack  of  paralysis.  It  appeal's  that  the  blood-vessels  of  the 
brain  were,  to  a  certain  extent,  obliterated,  and  the  circulation  correspondingly 
impeded.  It  is  clear  that  his  highest  thinking  ability  could  not  be  exercised 
under  such  conditions.  The  death  of  his  three  eldest  children,  in  whom  he 
was  greatly  interested  by  affection  and  hope,  coming  suddenly  within  a  space 
of  two  and  one-half  years,  distressed  him  beyond  measure.  In  the  next  place 
the  political  project  of  1892  ended  in  a  fiasco.  Once  Mr.  Blaine  was  induced, 
after    the    renominatiou  of   Harrison,  to    visit   the    residence  of   Whitelaw    Reid, 


candidate  for  the  Vice-Presidency,  at  his  home  called  "  Ophir  Farm,"  near 
White  Plains,  New  York,  and  to  make  there  a  brief  address.  This  was 
the  last  occasion  on  which  he  spoke  in  public.  After  his  return  to  Wash- 
ington, he  weakened  perceptibly,  and  in  November  his  strength  finally 
gave  way.  The  interest  in  him,  in  his  opinions,  his  desires  and  purposes, 
continued  unabated;  but  it  was  evident  to  all  that  his  active  career  was  in 
the  last  act. 

It  is  now  known — as  will  be  seen  from  the  subsequent  report  of  his  physi- 
cians— that  Mr.  Blaine  had  blight's  disease  of  the  kidneys.  Connected  with 
this  insidious  and  fatal  maladj^  were  two  or  three  other  incipient  ailments  that 
would  ultimately  have  taken  him  to  the  grave.  One  of  these  was  the  progres- 
sive obliteration  of  the  capillary  blood-vessels  of  the  brain.  This  must  ulti- 
mately have  ended  in  apoplexy  and  sudden  eclipse.  Another  trouble  was  a 
tendency  to  phthisis.  This  was  not  to  have  been  apprehended  in  a  man  of  his 
robust  and  athletic  appearance.  It  would  seem,  however,  that  he  had  what  is 
known  as  the  hemorrhagial  diathesis ;  that  is,  a  constitutional  disposition  to 
rupture  in  the  capillaries  with  consequent  bleeding  and  tendency  to  pulmonary 

At  any  rate,  the  Bright's  disease,  with  which  Mr.  Blaine  was  afflicted,  ran 
its  own  fatal  course  and  presently  struck  both  the  lungs  and  the  brain.  In 
the  after  part  of  November,  1S92,  Mr.  Blaine  became  so  much  enfeebled  as  to 
be  confined  to  his  house.  In  December  he  was  so  greatly  weakened  that  he 
was  brougrht  to  the  couch  from  which  he  was  destined  never  to  arise.  He  was 
not,  however,  in  imminent  danger  until  near  the  close  of  the  year,  when  it  was 
found  that  the  heart's  action  was  also  greatly  weakened  and  disturbed,  and 
from  this  time  forth  it  was  only  a  question  of  weeks  and  days  when  the  knock 
of  the  pale  messenger  would  be  heard  at  the  door  of  the  chamber. 

At  the  last  the  death  of  Blaine  came  suddenly,  unexpectedly.  He 
had  lingered  through  several  weeks  in  a  state  bordering  on  extinction,  and  it 
was  believed  that  he  would  probably  survive  for  a  few  weeks  longer.  There 
was  great  uncertainty  in  the  public  mind  with  regard  to  his  disease ;  the  physicians 
were  reticent — as  professional  men  are — and  the  family  were  little  disposed  to 
/  speak  of  the  nature  of  the  malady  with  which  the  statesman  was  prostrated. 
Newspaper  correspondents  busied  themselves  with  conjectures — not  a  few — and 
the  public  was  left  in  doubt  as  to  the  issue. 

This  uncertainty  continued  to  the  end,  and  was  not  dispelled  until  the 
day  after  Mr.  Blaine's  death.  On  that  morning  ihe  attending  physicians,  Doctors 
Johnson  and  Hvatt,  made  an  official  statement  and  gave  it  to  the  public ; 
this  was  as  follows : — 

The  beginning  of  Mr.  Blaine's  illness  dates  back  some  years.  The  earliest 
signs  of  ill  health  were  associated  with,  and  no  doubt  due  to,  a  gouty  tendency, 
which  manifested  itself  in  sub-acute  attacks  of  gout,  disturbances  of  digestion 
and  progressive  innutrition  and  anaemia.  , 



Subsequent  events  prove  that  at  this  time  changes  were  going  on  in  the 
arteries  of  the  body,  which  resulted  later  in  symptoms  of  obliteration  of  vessels 
and  iu  chronic  disease  of  the  kidneys.  The  attack  of  paralysis  in  1S87  was 
connected  with  similar  alterations  in  the  blood  vessels  of  the  brain. 

During  the  summer  of  1S92  the  evidences  of  failing  health  were  more 
decided,  and  in  November,  on  his  return  to  Washington,  his  symptoms  suddenly 
assumed  an  aggravated  form.  From  this  time,  although  there  were  periods  of 
apparent  improvement,  he  continued  to  grow  worse  from  week  to  week.  The 
symptoms  were,  at  first,  more  directly  connected  with  the  kidneys,  and  examina- 
tions of  urine  showed  that  there 
was  a  progressive  interstitial 
change  going  on  in  that  organ, 
and  that  he  had  a  form  of  chronic 
Bright's  disease. 

In  December  signs  of  lung 
complication  appeared,  which 
were  no  doubt  connected  with 
the  general  disease,  but  as  tuber- 
cle bacilli  were  found  in  the 
sputa  ic  is  probable  that  there 
was  some  tubercular  infection 
as  well.  Much  of  the  distress 
which  Mr.  Blaine  suffered  was 
associated  with  this  disease  of 
the  lungs,  and  his  death  was 
certainly  hastened  by  it. 

Towards  the  end  of  Decem- 
ber the  heart  began  to  show 
signs  of  unusual  weakness  from 
cardiac  degeneration  and  dila- 
tion, and  on  December  18  he 
had  an  alarming  attack  of 
but    others    of    the     same     nature 

w?a^8        H 


\          '% 




heart      exhaustion  ;     from     this    he 
recurred  on  several  occasions. 

From  the  middle  of  January  these  attacks  ceased,  and  the  action  of  the  heart 
was  more  uniformly  good.     There  was,  however,  a  daily  loss  of  flesh  and  strength. 

For  three  days  before  Mr.  Blaine's  death  there  was  no  marked  change  in 
his  condition  ;  each  day  he  seemed  somewhat  more  feeble  than  on  the  day  before, 
and  on  the  night  before  his  death  he  did  not  seem  to  be  in  any  immediate  danger. 
Towards  the  morning  of  the  twenty-seventh  instant  his  pulse  was  observed  to 
be  very  feeble  and  his  breathing  more  embarrassed.  As  a  result  of  the  failing 
heart  action,  cedema  of  the  lungs  occurred,  and  he  died  without  much  suffering  at 
eleven  o'clock. 



During  the  whole  of  Mr.  Blaine's  illness  the  digestion  was  well  performed, 
and  liquid  food,  chiefly  milk,  was  taken  in  full  quantities.  His  mind  was 
generally  clear,  except  when  clouded  by  uraemia  and  disturbed  brain  circula- 
tion, and  although  unable  to  express  himself  in  words,  he  recognized  all  the 
members  of  his   family  up  to   within  a  few  moments   of  his  death. 

Drs.  Janeway  and  Loomis,  of  New  York,  were  called  in  consultation  and  ren- 
dered  important  service  by  their  advice. 

William  W.  Johnson,  M.  D. 
Frank  C.  Hyatt,  M.  D. 

As  we  have  said,  death  came  in  an  unexpected  hour.  On  the  morning 
of  January  27,  1S93,  the  distin- 
guished patient  was  found  by 
his  physicians  to  be  in  a  sinking 
condition.  His  vital  forces  had 
evidently  given  away  beyond 
the  hope  of  rally.  For  the  past 
two  weeks  the  physicians  had 
employed  the  powerful  stimula- 
tion of  nitro-glycerine ;  it  was 
not  deemed  prudent,  however, 
on  the  last  morning  to  resort  to 
this  expedient  further.  There 
was  really  nothing  remaining  to 
be  done  but  to  await  the  coming 
of  death. 

All  the  members  of  the 
family  were  now  present.  Mr. 
Blaine  had  been  in  a  semi-con- 
scious condition  for  several  days. 
It  was  believed  by  those  in 
attendance  that  he  was  still 
able  to  recognize  the  members 
of  his  household  and  other 
friends,  though  he  gave  little  sign  of  doing  so;  he  spoke  not.  The  eloquence 
which  had  so  greatly  moved  the  American  public  for  a  quarter  of  a  century 
was  forever  stilled.  Gradually  the  stupor  of  death  supervened,  and  the  final 
moment  came  in  quietude  and  peace.  There  was  no  convulsion  or  apparent 
pain  ;  death  ensued  at  eleven  o'clock  a.  m.,  on  the  day  referred  to.  Instantly 
the  event  was  known  and  was  flashed  by  wire  to  the  remotest  corners  of  the 

The  impression  produced  on  the  public  mind  was,  indeed,  sensational.  No 
such  marked  effect  had  been  witnessed  on  the  occasion  of  the  death  of  any 
citizen  since  that  of  Lincoln.     This,  indeed,  was  the    first  noticeable  impression 





given  out  by  the  newspaper  press.  Washington  City  was  stirred  to  the  heart. 
The  President  of  the  United  States  immediately  issued  an  appropriate  proclama- 
tion announcing  the  death  of  James  G.  Blaine  and  recounting  briefly  the  prin- 
cipal incidents  of  his  life.  Orders  were  at  once  given  that  all  the  departments 
of  the  Government  should  be  closed  as  a  mark  of  respect  to  the  great  Secretary, 
and  that  in  particular  the  Department  of  State  should  be  draped  for  thirty 
days.  Congress  was  in  session  at  the  time  of  the  announcement,  and  in  both 
Houses  motions  were  immediately  made  for  adjournment.  The  terms  in  which 
the  speakers  referred  to  the  death  of  Mr.  Blaine  were  of  a  kind  to  indicate  the 
profound  hold  which  he  had   on  the  public  esteem.     This  action  on  the  part  of 

the  two  Houses  was  entirely 
without  respect  to  party.  The 
leading  members  of  the  Demo- 
cratic party  referred  in  the 
most  complimentary,  eulogistic 
and  even  affectionate  terms  to 
the  deceased,  as  did  also  the 
leaders  of  the  party  with  which 
Mr.  Blaine  had  been  always 

The  tone  of  the  newspaper 
press,  on  the  morning  of  the 
twenty-eighth,  showed  conclu- 
sively the  place  which  Mr.  Blaine 
had  attained  in  the  estimation 
of  his  countrymen.  The  journals 
of  the  day,  without  respect  to 
party,  published  page  on  page  of 
biography  and  incident,  and  sup- 
plemented this  with  long  and 
able  editorials  reviewing  the  life 
and  work  of  the  statesman. 
Joseph  h.  manlev,  of  maine.  The     articles     thus      published 

were  almost  without  exception  in  the  nature  of  eulogies  ;  the  terms  employed 
by  sedate  editors  were  such  as  could  only  properly  be  used  in  speaking  of 
the  greatest.  Many  of  the  authors  used  the  comparative  method,  and  the 
merits  of  the  great  Secretary,  as  a  statesman  and  citizen,  were  set  in  favorable 
juxtaposition  with  those  of  the  most  distinguished  statesmen  of  the  century. 
He  was  compared  with  Clay,  with  Seward  and  with  Lincoln.  It  was  held  by 
many  that  the  dead  had  occupied  a  place  not  second  to  any  other  statesman 
and  publicist  of  his  time.  These  opinions  were  read  and  commented  upon  by 
the  thousands  who  eagerly  sought  the  morning  papers,  to  review  the  events  of 
Mr.   Blaine's  life  and  to  verify  their  own  opinions  of  his  character  and  worth. 

'•V&    <S£»P 

•&  -' 






Preparations  were  at  once  taken  for  the  funeral.  There  was  considerable 
anxiety  to  learn  the  intentions  of  the  family  with  regard  to  the  place  and 
circumstances  of  burial.  It  had  been  supposed  that  Mr.  Blaine's  body  would 
be  taken  to  Augusta  for  interment,  but  it  was  decided  that  the  sepulture 
should  be  made  in  Oak  Hill  Cemetery,  Georgetown ;  perhaps  Mr.  Blaine  had 
himself  chosen  the  spot  as  his  last  resting-place.  Public  expectation  pointed 
to  a  funeral  in  keeping  with  the  character  and  prominence  of  the  dead.  The 
American  people  like  to  do  honor  to  distinguished  citizens.  And  they  are 
quick  withal  to  forget  the  animosities  and  party  divisions  which  constitute 
so  large  a  part  of  the  political  and  public  life  of  our  country.  They  are 
anxious  to  accord  to  the  great 
dead  the  full  meed  of  praise 
which  was  perhaps  withheld 
during:  his  life.  The  better 
qualities  of  our  citizenship  come 
out  on  such  occasions  ;  the  bit- 
terness of  life  is  forgotten  in 
the  bitterness  of  death ;  the 
hearse  of  the  great  is  usually  fol- 
lowed in  America  to  the  cemeterj'- 
with  the  impartial  and  universal 
sympathy  of  his  countrymen. 

The  public  expectation 
pointed  to  a  magnificent  funeral. 
The  pageant  has  become  a  part 
of  the  burial  of  public  men. 
We  have  had  some  remarkable 
examples  of  this  in  the  last 
quarter  of  a  century.  The 
funeral  of  Lincoln  was  sponta- 
neous and  universal.  The  nation 
buried  him.  The  same  ma}'  be 
said  with  little  limitation  in  the  senator  w.  p.  fryk,  of  main*.. 

case  of  Garfield.  The  burial  of  Grant  was  one  of  the  most  remarkable  scenes 
witnessed  in  modern  times — second  only  to  that  of  the  Duke  of  Wellington.  The 
funeral  of  Hendricks  was  in  like  manner  a  magnificent  expression  of  national 
mourning.  It  remained  for  the  sturdy  General  Sherman  to  arrest  this  tendency 
and  to  demand  for  himself  the  simple  funeral  of  a  soldier.  We  do  not  presume 
to  decide  between  the  two  sentiments,  one  of  which  suggests  the  pageant  as  an 
expression  of  public  grief,  and  the  other  of  which  points  to  private  burial. 

The  event  of  Blaine's  death  showed  that  that  statesman  had  decided  for 
himself  in  favor  of  a  private  and  unostentatious  ceremony  and  burial.  Indeed, 
he  had    strictly  enjoined  it  upon  his  family  that    no    display  beyond    what  wras 


fffiisftfai                       ? 

3HPs^  -*s^l'-*^  -■■*  i-  ■ 

228  LIFE  AND   WORK   OF  JAMES   G.    BLAINE. 

necessary  in  a  simple  and  respectable  funeral  should  be  given  to  himself.  It 
was  known  after  his  death  that  he  had  a  great  repugnance  to  public  exhibitions 
of  sorrow.  Mrs.  Blaine  at  once  announced  a  private  funeral  and  sent  a  request 
that  no  official  notice  should  be  taken  of  her  husband's  death  ;  this,  however, 
was  to  a  certain  extent  overruled  by  Honorable  John  W.  Foster,  Secretary  of 
State.  It  chanced  that  at  this  very  time  the  departments  at  Washington  were 
draped  in  respect  to  the  memory  of  ex-President  Hayes,  who  had  died  only  a 
few  days  previously.  It  was  agreed  that  the  outward  signs  of  mourning  on  the 
State  Department  should  be  retained  with  the  double  significance  of  betokening 
the  death  of  the  ex-President  and  the   ex-Secretary  of  State. 

The  death  of  Mr.  Blaine  occurred  on  the  forenoon  of  Friday.  It  was 
determined  by  the  family  that  the  funeral  should  take  place  at  the  same  hour, 
namely,  n  o'clock  a.  m.,  on  Monday,  the  thirtieth.  Everything  was  to  be  private 
rather  than  public.  During  the  interval  the  body  of  Mr.  Blaine  was  placed  in 
one  of  the  rooms  of  the  Seward  house,  and  there  many  visitors  came  to  view 
for  the  last  time  the  well-known  face.  Otherwise  the  interval  between  Friday 
and  Monday  was  uneventful.  The  newspapers  continued  to  be  filled  with 
tributes  to  the  dead  and  with  estimates  of  his  genius.  Meanwhile,  the  following 
pall-bearers  were  selected  :  Senators  W.  P.  Frye  and  Eugene  Hale,  of  Maine, 
John  T.  Morgan,  of  Alabama  ;  Representatives  Thomas  B.  Reed  and  C.  A.  Boutelle, 
of  Maine,  Robert  R.  Hitt,  of  Illinois,  and  Henry  H.  Bingham,  of  Pennsylvania  ; 
General  Thomas  Ewing,  of  Ohio ;  John  Hay,  of  Washington ;  Joseph  H.  Mauley, 
of  Maine  ;  Almet  F.  Jenks,  of  Brooklyn,  and  P.  V.  P.  Elv,  of  Boston. 

The  funeral  proper  was  held  at  the  Church  of  the  Covenant,  at  which  Mr. 
Blaine  had  for  some  years  been  an  attendant.  The  pastor  of  that  church,  Rev. 
Teunis  S.  Hamlin,  was  the  officiating  clergyman.  The  church  had  been  prepared 
for  the  occasion  with  a  wealth  of  flowers ;  but  the  customary  draping  in  black 
was  replaced  with  white  ribbons.  It  was  one  of  the  peculiarities  of  Mr.  Blaine 
to  desire  that  the  lugubrious  effect  produced  by  black  drapery  should  not  be 
seen  and  felt  at  his  funeral. 

The  church  selected  for  the  ceremonies  was  small,  having  a  seating  capacity 
of  011I37  about  nine  hundred.  This  space  was  nearly  all  reserved  for  certain 
persons  who,  in  the  nature  of  the  case,  must  be  present.  This  included  the 
President  and  his  household,  members  of  Congress  and  of  the  Diplomatical  Corps 
and  other  distinguished  personages,  besides  the  personal  friends  and  relatives 
of  the  dead.  The  same  simplicity  was  observed  in  the  matter  of  music.  This 
was  limited  to  a  voluntary  on  the  organ  performed  by  Mr.  Walter  Damrosch, 
Mr.  Blaine's  son-in-law.  Corresponding  simplicity  was  seen  in  the  casket, 
which  was  of  red  cedar,  covered  with  black,  with  plain  silver  mountings  and  a 
plate  bearing  this  inscription : 

Born  January  31,  1830. 
Died  January  27,  1893. 

LIFE   AND   WORK   OF  JAMES   G.    BLAINE.  220 

In  connection  with  the  funeral,  the  old  question  of  Mr.  Blaine's  religion 
was  evoked.  For  several  weeks  there  had  been  rumors  that  he  had  chaneed,  or 
was  about  to  change,  the  Presbyterian  belief  to  which  he  had  adhered  from 
boyhood,  for  that  of  the  Mother  Church.  It  is  said  that  Mr.  Blaine  was  in 
his  infancy,  at  the  insistence  of  his  mother,  baptized  as  a  Catholic  child.  After- 
wards, however,  as  he  came  to  years  of  reflection,  he  preferred  the  faith  of  his 
father,  and  joined  himself  to  the  Congregational  Church.  During  his  last  illness 
it  was  repeatedly  published  that  he  was  going  back  to  the  faith  of  his  mother. 
This  proved  not  to  be  correct.  True,  Cardinal  Gibbons  was  a  friend  of  Mr. 
Blaine  and  visited  him  during  his  last  sickness  ;  but  it  would  appear  that  this 
visit  was  made  for  other  than  religious  consideration. 

There  has  always  been  some  diversity  of  views  on  the  question  of  the  true 
faith  in  the  Blaine  household.  The  oldest  daughter,  on  her  marriage  to  Colonel 
Coppinger,  became  a  Catholic  and  died  and  was  buried  in  that  faith.  The  other 
children  were  Protestants.  Walker  Blaine  and  his  sister,  Mrs.  Coppinger,  were 
buried  in  the  cemetery  at  Georgetown,  the  spot  being  selected  by  their  father  on 
the  sad  occasion  of  his  oldest  son's  death.  There  also  the  sister  was  presently 
buried,  and  there,  too,  the  statesman  determined  to  rest  at  the  end  of  the  journey. 

Despite  the  efforts  made  to  make  the  funeral  a  private  one,  the  people 
of  Washington,  and,  indeed,  of  the  whole  country,  were  little  disposed  to  have  it 
so.  James  G.  Blaine  could  not  be  privately  buried ;  that  is,  his  mortal  remains 
could  not  be  sent  in  privacy  to  the  tomb.  As  to  the  deathless  part,  the  historical 
part,  that  had  been  already  canonized. 

The  morning  of  January  30  came  bright  and  clear,  and  at  an  early  hour 
Lafayette  Square  and  the  surrounding  streets  began  to  be  thronged  with  people. 
The  pressure  of  the  crowd  became  very  great  ;  but  there  was  an  impressive 
silence  and  no  disorder.  All  business  about  the  governmental  departments  had 
ceased.  The  most  distinguished  men  of  the  nation  and  many  from  foreign 
countries  sought  to  testify  by  their  presence,  both  at  the  Seward  mansion  and 
the  Church  of  the  Covenant,  their  profound  interest  in  the  occasion. 

The  arrangements  contemplated  no  service  at  the  residence  except  a  prayer 
by  Dr.  Hamlin  and  music  by  Mr.  Damrosch.  The  latter  was  rendered  in  a 
subdued  strain  during  the  utterance  of  the  prayer.  The  body  of  the  dead  states- 
man was  placed  in  the  casket  in  the  large  parlor  on  the  second  floor.  It  was 
covered  and  banked  around  with  the  choicest  floral  offerings.  The  casket  itself 
rested  on  a  bed  of  roses,  violets,  palm  leaves  and  ferns.  There  was  a  ship  of 
state  sent  by  the  Knights  of  Reciprocity,  and  a  wreath  contributed  by  the 
President  of  the  United  States. 

Only  a  few  persons  could  be  accommodated  in  the  parlor.  These  included 
President  Harrison  ;  his  daughter,  Mrs.  McKee  ;  the  Vice-President  and  his  wife ; 
the  members  of  the  Cabinet  and  their  families.  After  the  brief  service  at  the 
residence,  the  casket  was  transferred  to  the  hearse.  The  vast  throng  in  the 
streets  and  in  Lafayette  Square  stood  with  uncovered  heads  while  the  procession 



was  formed  tending  to  the  Church  of  the  Covenant.  At  that  place  a  guard  had 
been  stationed  from  early  morning  in  order  that  the  auditorium  might  be  reserved 
for  the  family  and  friends.  The  church  is  situated  at  the  corner  of  Connecticut 
Avenue  and  N  Street,  opposite  to  the  British  legation.  The  decorations  of  the 
building  within,  and  particularly  of  the  pulpit  and  railing,  were  rich  and 
impressive.  Everything  that  the  artistic  taste,  assisted  by  the  fragrant 
and  beautiful  contributions  of  nature  in  blossom  and  vine,  could  suggest,  was 
appropriately  set  about  the  last  resting-place  of  the  casket  of  James  G. 
Blaine — last    on    this    side    of   the  windowless    chamber. 

At  the  Church  of  the  Cove- 
nant it  was  found  impossible  to 
admit  the  public  or  any  unin- 
vited guests.  The  funeral  pro- 
cession reached  the  building  at 
noon.  The  hearse  was  borne  up 
the  aisle  preceded  by  Dr.  Hamlin, 
repeating  solemnly,  as  he  came, 
the  Presbyterian  service  for  the 
dead.  After  the  minister  came 
the  honorary  pall-bearers,  and 
then  the  family  and  friends. 
Mrs.  Blaine  was  not  present, 
being  so  greatly  depressed  in 
health  and  spirits  as  to  be 
unable  to  leave  the  residence. 

One  of  the  touching  inci- 
dents of  the  service  was  the 
performance  of  a  voluntary  on 
the  organ  by  Mr.  Damrosch, 
who  took  the  place  of  the  regular 
organist  for  the  occasion.  Then 
charles  foster,  secretary  of  treasury.  followed    the     praver    and    the 

address  by  Dr.  Hamlin.  The  crowd  about  the  building  was  very  great.  When 
the  services  were  concluded,  the  flowers  which  had  accumulated  to  an  indescrib- 
able extent  around  the  altar  were  gathered  up  and  removed  to  the  cemetery. 
The  members  of  the  family  and  their  friends  then  entered  their  carriages  and, 
following  the  hearse,  began  the  procession  to  Oak  Hill  Cemetery,  Georgetown. 
About  one  hundred  carriages,  including  those  of  the  Vice-President  and  mem- 
bers of  the  Cabinet,  were  in  line.  Spectators  were  thinly  scattered  on  either 
side  of  the  way  all  along  the  route. 

It  was  a  clear  day,  with  only  a  few  clouds  for  the  sun  to  struggle  with 
new  and  then.  In  the  prosperous  parts  of  the  city  men  and  women  gathered 
at  the  windows  to  see  the    procession    go    by.     In    the    poorer    streets,  through 

LIFE   AND   WORK   OF  JAMES   G.   BLAINE.  231 

which  the  funeral  passed  on  the  way  to  Georgetown,  mothers,  black  and  white, 
brought  their  children  to  the  doors  and  offered  them  the  fine  parade  of  carriages 
full  of  distinguished  people  as  a  pleasing  diversion  in  their  quiet  lives.  One 
little  hut  marked  in  numerous  places  "Keep  dry,"  and  "This  side  up  with 
care,"  which  had  evidently  been  built  up  of  dissected  packing  cases,  produced 
no  less  than  seven  small  colored  children,  who  showed  their  appreciation  of   the 

fine  display. 

It  was  a  long  drive  to  the  cemetery,  going  as  the  funeral  procession  did, 
at  a  slow  walk.  The  hearse,  which  had  left  the  church  at  12.45  P-  m->  reached 
Oak  Hill,  the  burying-ground,  shortly  after  two.  The  cemetery  was  ci'owded 
with  men,  women  and  children,  who  had  gathered  in  the  morning  to  look  at 
the  open  grave.  With  difficulty  the  funeral  party  managed  to  clear  a  way 
through  the  curious  crowd  from  about  the  Blaine  plot.  The  immediate  relatives, 
intimate  friends  and  members  of  the  Cabinet  grouped  themselves  about  the 
grave.  The  ground  was  soft,  muddy  and  partly  covered  with  snow.  The 
general  crowd  of  sightseers  pressed  about  as  closely  as  possible  and  ranged 
themselves  on  the  slanting  terraces  of  graves  that  mark  the  hillside  above 
the  Blaine  plot.  Beside  the  open  grave  there  was  a  large  mound  of  fresh  red 
earth.  Seven  men  dressed  in  long  blue  flannel  blouses  reaching  below  the  knee, 
and  fastened  at  the  waist  with  big  brass  buckles,  stood  with  long-handled 
spades  ready  to   pile  in  the  dirt  upon  the  coffin. 

Mr.  Blaine's  body  was  committed  to  the  earth  with  a  short  prayer.  It  was 
lowered  into  the  grave  with  the  flowers  still  lying  upon  the  coffin  lid,  and 
immediately  the  seven  grave-diggers  with  long  blouses  fell  to  piling  in  the  earth. 
For  a  while  the  women  of  Mr.  Blaine's  household  stood  sobbing  as  the  work 
went  on.     Before  it  had  been  finished  they  had  been  led  away. 

One  after  another  the  members  of  the  Cabinet  withdrew.  Air.  Wanamaker 
remained  later  than  any  of  his  associates,  gazing  sadly  upon  the  work  of  the 
seven  men.  Finally,  he,  too,  departed,  leaving  young  James  G.  Blaine  alone 
with  the  crowd  of  curiosity-seekers  beside  his  father's  grave.  He  waited  until 
the  task  of  filling  the  grave  and  sealing  the  brick  vault  had  been  completed. 
Then  he,  too,  went  away. 

For  almost  an  hour  the  crowd  surged  about,  worrying  the  policemen  and 
grave-diggers  with  their  attempts  to  despoil  the  grave  of  its  flowers.  Policeman 
No.  36  should  be  commended  for  the  manner  in  which  he  enforced  the  law  and 
administered  reproof  simultaneously.  Those  he  had  to  combat  were  women. 
His  unfailing  and  patient  remonstrance  was  :  "  Ladies,  if  you  don't  know  better 
than  to  take  flowers  off  the  grave,  I  shall  have  to  teach  you." 

Beside  the  grave  of  Mr.  Blaine  are  those  of  Emmons  Blaine  and  Mrs.  Alice 
Blaine  Coppinger.  A  white  marble  cross  marks  Mrs.  Coppinger's  grave.  There 
is  room  perhaps  for  two  more  graves  in  the  plot  in  which  Mr.  Blaine  lies 
buried.  There  is  no  room  for  anything  more  than  a  very  simple  headstone  to 
mark  his  resting-place.      In    front  of   the    Blaine    plot    there    is    an    open  space 



upon  which  an  imposing  monument  might  be  built,  but  it  has  been  purchased 
as  a  family  plot  by  Mr.  Norris.  On  Mr.  Blaine's  right,  as  he  lies  in  his 
grave,  is  a  headstone  marked  simply  "  Peter  Palmer,"  and  on  his  left  the 
grave  of  Stephen  Glegg  Rowan,  Vice- Admiral  of  the  United  States  Navy, 
who  lies  buried  beside  his  wife.  Not  far  from  where  Mr.  Blaine  lies,  in  a 
more  thickly  settled  point  of  the  cemetery,  is  the  grave  of  John  Howard 
Payne,  author  of  "Home,  Sweet  Home."  The  body  was  brought  here  from 
Tunis,  where  Payne  died,  by  W.  W.  Corcoran,  whose  remains  lie  in  a  vault 
near  by.  It  was  he  who  gave  to  Washington  for  cemetery  purposes  the 
tract  of  land,   of  which  the  Oak  Hill   Cemetery  consists. 

Here  then  was  the  final 
scene.  To  this  all  men  must 
come.  Here  in  the  earth  the 
body  of  one  of  the  greatest  of 
modern  Americans  was  laid  with 
such  simple  ceremonies  as  he 
himself  had  prescribed  as  most 
befitting  his  exit  from  the  world. 
We  may  not  more  appropri- 
ately conclude  this  biography 
than  with  a  brief  extract  from 
an  eye-witness  who,  standing 
in  the  cemetery,  in  the  afternoon 
when  ■  the  burial  was  over,  saw, 
to  his  surprise,  the  bereaved 
widow  come  with  an  attendant 
or  two  to  see  the  last  resting- 
place  of  her  distinguished  hus- 
band. The  account  is  given 
in  the  words  of  the  special 
correspondent  of  the  New  York 
World,  and  with  this  pictur- 
john      noble,  secretary  of  interior.  esque    and    sorrowful    scene  we 

end  our  narrative  of  the  Life  of  James  G.  Blaine  : — 

"  At  four  o'clock  this  afternoon,  the  crowds  that  had  filled  the  cemetery 
had  dispersed.  Only  a  few  children  ran  about  the  muddy  walks  and  played 
in  the  half-melted  snow  of  the  grave-yard.  A  woman,  deeply  veiled,  walked 
down  the  winding  path  to  the  grave  and  leaned  against  the  trunk  of  the  dead 
tree.     It  was  Mrs.   Blaine. 

"  At  her  feet  were  thousands  upon  thousands  of  roses,  violets  and  lilies, 
shutting  out  from  sight  the  scar  which  marked  her  husband's  resting-place  in 
the  earth.  All  about  were  low  mounds  marking  other  graves,  some  of 
children  and  some  of  old  men.      Many    were    trampled   down  and  disfigured    by 



the  thousands  who  had  struggled  for  a  last  look  at  her  husband's  coffin. 
Behind  her  the  sun  was  going  down.  Before  her  was  a  deep  ravine,  a 
swollen  brook  rushing  through  it,  and  beyond  a  gloomy  series  of  red  hills. 
Above  the  hills  she  could  see  the  white  shaft  of  the  Washington  Monument, 
the  dome  of  the  Capitol  and  the  roof  of  the  State  Department  building, 
beyond  which,  but  visible,  was  the  White  House.  Occasionally  a  few  children 
gathered  about  with  their  hands  behind  their  backs  to  contemplate  the  lady 
heavily  veiled.  They  were  warned  away  by  an  old  man  in  charge  of  the 
cemetery  gate,  who  had  undertaken  the  task  of  protecting  the  flowers  on  the 
grave  until   the  gates  should  close. 

"  After  almost  an  hour  spent  by  the  dead  tree  at  the  head  of  the  grave 
Mrs.  Blaine  was  led  away  to  a  carriage  by  her  son.  It  was  getting  dark. 
The  sun  was  hidden  from  view  behind  the  hill,  and  the  grave,  with  its 
burden  of  flowers,  la}-  in  the  shadows.  Two  or  three  policemen  who  had 
lingered  about  the  gate  cleared  the  cemetery  of  the  children  and  of  the  few 
curious  ones  who  remained.  The  iron  gates  were  closed,  and  Blaine  was  left 
alone  to  begin  his  long  rest  beneath  the  sod." 



E  are  now  to  consider  somewhat  at  length  the  pro- 
duct of  James  G.  Blaine  as  a  public  speaker.     In 
this  respect  he  was  copious  to  abundance.     From 
his  boyhood  he  had  a  passion  for  public   speech, 
and  rarely  lost  occasion  to  appear  on  the  platform. 
We  have  already  remarked  upon  the  fact  that  his 
style  of   address    was    determined   largely  by  his 
editorial  experience  aud  discipline.      As  a  result, 
his  oratory  was  the  oratory  of  reason  and  argu- 
mentation   rather  than  of  high   flight   and    pyro- 
technic  display. 
In    the    following    chapters  it  is  our   purpose  to  trace 
the  evolution  of  Blaine's  powers  with  actual  citations  from 
his  speeches.     In  this  chapter  we  shall  limit  our  excerpts 
to  such  addresses  as  he  delivered  before  his  appearance  in 
Congress.      As  we  have   said,  he  began  early.      When  he 
was  twenty-six  years  of  age,  returning  from  the  convention  which  had  nominated 
Fremont    for    the     presidency,    he    delivered    a    speech    at    Litchfield,    Me.,     on 
the  subject  of  the  nomination  of  the  Pathfinder    and   of  the    political    questions 
which  had  sprung  to  the  fore  in  that  year.     The  address  was  worthy  of  a  great 
occasion,  but  was  marked  with  a  measure    of  caution    as  to    the  extreme  views 
which    had    combined    with    more    moderate    opinion    in    the    new    Republican 

Blaine,  on  this  occasion,  reviewed  briefly  the  history  of  recent  American 
politics  ;  dwelt  upon  the  dissolution  of  the  Whig  party  ;  pointed  out  the  fact 
that  the  Democratic  party  was  also  on  the  eve  of  disintegration,  and  indicated 
the  necessity  of  a  new  political  organization  as  the  vehicle  of  the  best  and  most 
progressive  sentiment  of  the  American  people.  "  The  Republican  party,"  said  he, 
"  will  march  forward  in  the  line  of  duty  and  will  try  to  engraft  its  principles 
upon  the  government  of  the  country.  They  have  no  purpose  to  interfere  with 
slavery  in  the  States  ;  they  have  no  purpose  to  interfere  with  slavery  anywhere, 
except  to  the  extent  that  Thomas  Jefferson  and  the  Fathers  of  the  Republic 
interfered  with  it  when  they  excluded  it  from  free  territory.  If,  indirectly,  that 
policy  interferes  with  slavery  in  the  States,  we  are  not  responsible.      Certainly 


LIFE   AND   WORK   OF  JAMES   G.   BLAINE.  235 

the  great  evil  of  slavery,  wherever  it  exists,  is  not  to  be  countenanced  and 
upheld  by  subjecting  other  coniniuuities  and  other  territory  to  a  like  curse. 
I  have  no  doubt  that  the  great  majority  of  the  Republican  party  would 
interfere  with  slavery  in  the  States,  if  they  considered  that  they  had  the 
constitutional  right  to  do  so  ;  but  they  will  not  violate  their  oaths  to  observe 
the  Constitution,  and  they  will  not  strain  their  consciences  to  make  that 
seem  right  which  the  plain  letter  of  the  law  forbids.  But  they  believe 
that  their  right  to  exclude  slavery  from  the  free  Territories  is  just  as 
clear  as  their  inability  to  interfere  with  it  in  the  States  ;  and  on  that 
single  point,  great  and  far-reaching  in  its  effects,  we  challenge  the  Democratic 
party  of  the  South  and  of  the  North  to  a  contest  for  the  government  of  the 

The  speaker  then  went  on  to  review  the  proceedings  of  the  first  National 
Republican  Convention,  and  to  deduce  therefrom  the  omens  of  success.  He 
referred  to  the  fact  that  he  himself  had  been  a  Whig,  descended  from  Whigs, 
that  he  had  preferred  Judge  McLean  for  the  nomination,  but  that  the  popularity 
of  Fremont  had  carried  him  away  with  the  rest  of  the  delegation.  He  declared 
the  existence  of  three  parties  in  the  field,  and  affirmed  the  probability  that  the 
new  Republican  organization  would  become  the  party  of  the  future.  He  then 
turned  upon  Buchanan,  candidate  of  the  Democracy,  and  reviewed  his  record 
with  a  raciness  and  force  which  foretokened  his  powers  of  attack  and  criticism. 
He  also  gave  his  attention  to  the  American  party,  and  accused  Fillmore  of 
having  virtually  gone  over  to  the  principles  and  cause  of  the  South.  Fremont 
was  eulogized.  He  was  declared  to  be  the  herald  of  a  new  political  era  in  the 
nation.  "  Without  realizing  it  himself,"  said  the  speaker,  "  he  has  become  the 
embodiment  of  the  Republican  policy  which  declares  that  the  national  territory 
shall  be  kept  free  from  the  curse  of  slavery.  The  battle  between  free  institu- 
tions and  slave  institutions  is  now  in  actual  progress  in  the  Territory  of  Kansas 
and  will  be  fought  there  to  the  bitter  end.  Mr.  Buchanan  represents  the 
pro-slavery  side  of  that  contest ;  Colonel  Fremont  represents  the  anti-slavery 
side,  while  Mr.  Fillmore,  evading  a  declaration  on  the  question,  is,  so  far 
as  he  has  political  strength,  decisively  and  most  effectively  011  the  side  of  the 

Blaine  then  addressed  himself  directly  to  the  Republicans  of  his  own  State. 
He  exhorted  them  to  stand  for  moral  as  well  as  political  reform.  He  attacked 
the  Democrats  for  their  attitude  towards  the  prohibitory  law  of  Maine.  He 
urged  his  fellow  Republicans  to  fill  the  forthcoming  State  convention  and  to  make 
a  charge  for  the  conquest  of  the  State.  He  urged  the  nomination  of  Hannibal 
Hamlin  for  Governor.  He  declared  his  desire  that  Hamlin,  who  was  then  in 
Congress,  should  be  so  nominated  that  he  could  not  decline  the  call.  "  To  this 
end,"  said  the  speaker,  "  let  me  urge  that  all  the  towns  in  Kennebec  be  repre- 
sented at  Portland  with  full  delegations,  on  the  eighth  of  next  month.  There 
is  work  to  be  done  this  year  and  the  old  Whig  party  of  Kennebec  must  do  her 



full  share.  Maine  will  not  lag  behind  in  this  contest  for  free  territory,  and 
the  first  duty  at  hand  is  to  destroy  the  present  Democratic  supremacy  in  the 

In  these  remarks  of  the  young  orator  we  are  able  to  discover  his  prudence 
and  his  prescience.  Not  only  this ;  we  note  with  admiration  the  beginning  of  his 
organizing  power — his  directive  influence.  Hamlin  must  come  home  from  Congress 
and  help  to  rescue  Maine  from  the  Democracy.  That  done,  he  can  be  returned 
to  the  Senate.  Herein  is  the  clear  vision  of  the  political  diplomatist  seen  already. 
Such  a  man  as  this  will  be  long-headed  by  and  by.  He  will  be  a  manager  of 
affairs,  and  show  himself   able  to  discern  great  things  at  a  distance.       He  will 

acquire  skill  in  the  combination  of 
political  forces,  and  perhaps  become  a 
leader  of  his  party  ! 

Buchanan  was  elected  to  the  presi- 
dency. This  might  well  have  been 
foreseen.  Fremont,  however,  had  a 
respectable  vote,  and  it  was  evident  tbat 
the  young  Republican  party  had  come 
to  stay.  Blaine  was  profoundly  inter- 
ested in  the  evolutions  of  the  time. 
He  watched  with  intense  interest  the 
progress  of  affairs  in  the  Government 
and  in  the  malcontent  States  of  the 
South.  "When  near  the  close  of 
py  Buchanan's  administration  the  ques- 
:  tions  of  the  day  began  to  take  form 
Blaine  was  read}'.  At  a  Republican 
mass  meeting  held  in  Farmington,  Me., 
on  the  fourth  of  July,  i860,  with  Israel 
!  /    Washburn   presiding,    Blaine    delivered 

one    of    his    first    formal    political  ad-f 
dresses  on 

THE   NATIONAL    ISSUES   OF    i860. 

"  I  sincerely  thank  3'ou,  Mr.  Chairman  and  Republicans  of  Franklin  County,"  I 
said  the  orator,  "  for  the  honor  j-ou  have  conferred   upon  me  by  your  invitation} 
to  join  our  distinguished  candidate  for  Governor  in    formally  opening  the  State  1 
and  presidential  campaigns  in  Maine.     We  have  had  the  pleasure  of  hearing  Mr. 
Washburn,  and    I    am    sure  we    all    feel    that    in   his    eloquent    and  exhaustive 
speech  on  the  leading  national  issue,  he  has  left  little  for  other  speakers  to  say. 
If  his  speech  made  one  impression  upon  my  mind    stronger   than  any  other,  it 
was  that  we  do  a  wrong  to  our    State  and    to  the  nation  to  withdraw  him  fror 
Congress    to  make  him  Governor  of  the  State  when  his  services  in  the  House 
of  Representatives  had  so  fully  ripened  him  for  the  closing  battle  of  that  conflict  foi 



free  territory,  in  which  for  the  past  ten  years  he  has  borne  so  conspicuous  and  hon- 
orable a  part.  But  it  is  now  too  late  to  change,  and  we  must  content  ourselves  with 
the  belief  that  if  we  lose  a  brilliant  Representative  in  Congress  we  shall  secure 
an  equally  brilliant  Governor,  and  that  Mr.  Rice,  who  is  nominated  as  his 
successor  in  the  national  field,  will  faithfully  uphold  the  principles  which  Mr. 
Washburn's  long  career  has  so  fitly  illustrated. 

It  is  interesting  and  important  for  us  at  the  initial  point  of  the  national 
campaign  to  see  how  the  events  of  four  years  have  deepened  and  broadened  the 
issue  upon  which  the  Republican  party  was  organized,  and  how  that  party, 
growing  and  strengthening  in  all  the  States  of  the  North,  has  enlarged  the 
creed  of  principles  which  first  constituted  its  political  field.  The  vote  for  Fremont 
in  1S56,  though  the  party  had  been  hastily  summoned  and  was  imperfectly 
organized,  was  yet  so  large  as  to  give  a  wholesome  fright  to  the  pro-slavery 
leaders  of  the  South.  Mr.  Buchanan  carried  his  own  State  by  only  two  thousand 
votes  in  the  October  election,  and  if  the  majority  had  been  two  thousand  the 
other  way  the  coalition  ticket  of  Fremont  and  Fillmore  electors  would  probably 
have  been  chosen.  In  that  event  the  election  would  have  been  thrown  into 
the  House  of  Representatives,  and  either  Mr.  Buchanan  or  Mr.  Fillmore  would 
have  been  chosen  President  through  the  same  process  that  gave  John  Quincy 
Adams  the  executive  chair  in  1825.  Though  it  might  not  have  deprived  the 
Democracy  of  the  chief  magistracy,  it  would  have  been  more  than  equivalent 
to  an  ordinary  defeat  between  parties.  Even  as  it  resulted,  the  gathered  hosts 
of  the  free  North  so  alarmed  the  leaders  of  Southern  opinion  that  something 
was  imperatively  demanded  to  strengthen  their  position. 

The  nation  did  not  wait  long  to  learn  the  policy  and  purpose  of  the  pro- 
slavery  leaders.  The  Republicans  had  already  once  gained  control  of  the  popular 
branch  of  Congress,  and  the  Democracy  were  afraid  that  the  same  result  might 
be  repeated.  That  implied  the  possibility  of  defeat  at  the  polls  in  a  presidential 
election  ;  and  with  the  executive  and  legislative  departments  of  the  Government 
against  them,  they  feared  for  the  fate  of  slavery.  In  this  dilemma  they  had 
recourse  to  the  national  judiciary  to  strengthen  them  in  their  position.  So 
assured  were  they  that  a  decision  of  great  value  to  the  pro-slavery  interest  was 
impending,  that  Mr.  Buchanan  ventured  to  refer  to  it  in  his  inaugural  address 
as  "  soon  to  be  announced."  People  did  not  realize  at  the  time  the  gross  impro- 
priety of  this  reference.  But  its  full  measure  was  seen  when,  not  long  after,  the 
Dred  Scott  decision  was  pronounced  by  the  Supreme  Court.  This  decision,  which 
primarily  related  to  the  freedom  of  a  single  man  (whose  name  the  case  bears),  was 
so  broadened  by  the  court,  in  its  obiter  dictum,  as  to  take  in  all  existing  political 
disputes  on  the  slavery  question.  The  Missouri  Compromise  of  1S20  was 
declared  to  have  been  unconstitutional,  and  its  flagitious  repeal  in  1854  was  thus 
upheld  as  a  patriotic  duty  on  the  part  of  Congress.  As  far  as  a  judicial  edict 
could  do  it,  slavery  was  strengthened  everywhere  by  that  decision,  the  whole 
national    domain  was  opened  to  its  ingress,  and  no  power  was  left,  either  among 



the  settlers  in  the  Territories  or  in  the  Congress  of  the  United  States,  to  exclude 
it.  The  belief  with  many  who  are  entitled  to  know  is  that  the  "  opinions  "  of 
the  court  which  take  in  matter  beyond  the  record  of  the  case  would  never  have 
been  delivered  had  not  the  supposed  political  necessities  of  the  South  demanded 
this  judicial  declaration  of  the  extreme  doctrine  of  Mr.  Calhoun. 

The  Southern  men  have  found,  however,  that  they  reckoned  witkoiit   their 

host  when  they  supposed 
that  the  people  of  the 
United  States,  on  polit- 
ical questions  of  this 
character,  would  give  up 
a  contest  that  involves 
freedom  for  a  continent, 
on  the  mere  sideway 
opinions  of  five  pro-sla- 
very judges.  The  contest 
goes  on  ;  and  it  has  been 
deepened  by  the  atrocious 
efforts  to  compel  Kansas 
■to  enter  the  Union  under 
the  fraudulent  constitu- 
tion made  at  Lecompton, 
against  the  will  and  the 
wish  of  her  people. 
Neither  the  abuse  of 
power  by  the  President 
nor  the  perversion  of 
justice  by  the  Supreme 
Court  can  call  a  halt  in 
this  battle  for  free  terri- 
tory. It  is  destined  to 
go  forward,  and  the  ele- 
ments which  the  pro- 
slavery  leaders  have 
james  buchanan.  relied    upon    as    settling 

it  are  but  acting  as  incentives  to  greater  energy  and  more  determined  purpose 
on  the  part  of  the  freemen  of  the  Northern  States.  The  cry  of  "  sectionalism," 
which  is  part  of  the  campaign  thunder  of  the  Democratic  party,  has  lost  its 
force ;  for  the  people  measure  its  meaning  and  are  ready,  in  their  own  phrase, 
to  unite  in  defence  of  freedom  when  Southern  men  combine  in  defence  of 

In  the  election  of  1856  the  opponents  of  the  Democratic  party  were  divided. 
I  do  not  say  that,  even  had    they  been    united,  they  could    have   triumphed    at 


that  time.  But  this  year,  in  the  good  Providence  of  God,  the  division  comes  in 
the  Democratic  party  itself;  and  we  can  felicitate  ourselves  that  the  strife 
between  Mr.  Douglas  and  Mr.  Breckinridge  will  in  all  probability  give  the  elec- 
tion to  the  Republicans  of  the  United  States,  and  that  iVbraham  Lincoln,  if  he 
lives,  will  be  the  next  President.  I  do  not  in  this  contest  reckon  Mr.  Bell,  of 
Tennessee  (who,  with  Mr.  Edward  Everett  for  Vice-President,  is  running  as  the 
representative  of  the  old  Whig  remnant),  as  of  any  special  force.  We  have  no 
occasion  to  discuss  him  or  his  platform,  and  we  can  safely  endure  the  little 
diversion  which,  through  old  Whig  influences,  he  may  make  from  the  Repub- 
lican standard  in  the  North,  in  consideration  of  the  additional  confusion  he  will 
bring  to  the  Democratic  party  in  the  South.  It  is  in  fact  probable  that  upon 
the  whole  the  Republicans  will  gain  by  the  candidacy  of  Bell  and  Everett, 
because  the  majority  of  their  Northern  supporters,  if  the  ticket  were  withdrawn, 
would  cast  their  votes  directly  for  Mr.   Douglas. 

Nor  should  we  listen  for  a  single  moment  to  those  Democrats  who  for  the 
first  time  in  their  lives  find  themselves  in  a  quarrel  with  the  pro-slavery  chief- 
tains, and  are  asking  popular  support  for  Douglas  as  the  leader  of  the  real 
revolt  against  the  dangerous  element  of  the  South.  If  there  were  no  other  argu- 
ment against  that  course,  its  utter  impracticability  would  be  conclusive.  If  the 
Douglas  men  are  in  earnest  and  wish  to  smite  the  dangerous  and  aggressive 
element  which  is  massing  itself  under  the  lead  of  Breckinridge  for  pro-slavery 
victory,  or  for  disunion  in  the  event  of  failure,  they  should  unite  in  support  of 
Mr.  Lincoln.  Either  Mr.  Lincoln  will  be  chosen,  or  the  election  will  be  thrown 
into  the  House  of  Representatives ;  and  no  man  who  measures  the  working  of 
political  forces  to-day  can  view  that  result  with  any  feeling  other  than  one  of 
dread.  Certainly  no  Northern  man  ought  to  cast  his  vote  in  a  way  that  admits 
of  the  possibility  of  such  a  raffle  for  the  presidency  as  woiild  sacrifice  all  prin- 
ciple and  involve  the  danger  that  may  be  connected  with  a  contest  of  that 

If  the  Republicans  of  Maine  need  any  further  stimulus  to  rally  for  Lincoln 
with  even  more  enthusiasm  than  they  rallied  for  Fremont  four  years  ago,  it  will 
be  fcmnd  in  the  fact  that  our  own  distinguished  fellow-citizen,  Hannibal  Hamlin, 
is  the  candidate  for  Vice-President.  In  these  great  national  uprisings  for  free- 
dom, it  seems  to  be  Mr.  Hamlin's  fortune  to  hold  prominent  place  and  wield 
prominent  influence.  It  was  his  great  victory  as  candidate  for  Governor  four 
years  ago  that  gave  impulse  to  the  popular  wave  for  Fremont,  and  it  is  his 
presence  and  his  influence  to-day  which,  with  that  of  our  distinguished  candi- 
date for  Governor,  will  give  increased  volume  and  increased  force  to  the  voice 
of  Maine  in  September. 

There  is  another  great  step  forward  which  the  Republican  party  has  taken 
in  its  national  platform  of  this  year,  reaffirmed  with  special  emphasis  in  the 
State  platform  of  Maine.  In  1856  the  issue  was  entirely  confined  to  resistance 
to  the  aggressions  of  slavery,  but  since  that  date  the  financial  revulsions  which 



have  led  to  such  distress  in  the  country  have  turned  men's  minds  to  the  fallacy 
and  the  failure  of  the  free-trade  policy  which  for  the  last  fourteen  years  has  been 
adopted  and  enforced  by  the  Democratic  party.  The  prosperity  which  was  said 
to  have  been  caused  by  the  tariff  of  1S46  has  received  a  rude  shock,  and  three 
years  ago  a  disastrous  panic  swept  over  the  country,  leaving  all  business  embar- 
rassed, if  not  prostrate.  For  several  years  prior  to  that  date  every  man  who 
believed  in  the  policy  of  protection  had  been  ridiculed  and  taunted  and  pointed 
to  the  indisputable  proof  of  the  advantage  of  free  trade  to  be  found  in  the  gener- 
ally prosperous  condition  of  the  country.  The  cry  in  favor  of  the  tariff  of  1846 
was  so  boisterous  that  no  opponent  of  it  could  even  have  a  hearing.  Those  who 
still  held  firmly  to  the  policy  of  protection  aud  in  the  belief  that  the  repeal  of 

the  tariff  of  1S42  was  a  great 
national  blunder  were  silenced, 
if  not  scorned,  in  the  arena  of 
popular  discussion. 

It  was  in  vain  that  Pro- 
tectionists attempted  to  prove 
that  the  period  of  prosperity 
under  that  tariff  (from  1S46 
to  1S56)  was  due  to  a  series 
of  what  might  be  termed 
fortuitous  circumstances — all 
involving  good  fortune  to  the 
United  States  and  ill  fortune 
to  other  nations. 

First.  —  At  the  very  mo- 
ment of  the  enactment  of 
the  tariff  of  1846,  the  war  with 
Mexico  broke  out.  The  result 
was  that  more  than  one  hun- 
dred thousand  men  were  called 
from  the  pursuits  of  industry 
and  enlisted  in  the  ranks  of  our  army,  while  other  thousands,  leaving  their 
usual  callings,  were  set  to  work  on  the  production  of  war  material.  The  first 
result  was  a  deficiency  in  the  supply  of  laborers  and  a  large  advance  in  wages.  | 
In  the  course  of  two  years  the  Government  paid  out  on  account  of  the  war,: 
nearly  one  hundred  and  fifty  millions  of  dollars,  thus  stimulating  trade  in 
almost  every  department. 

Second. — Midway  in  the  Mexican  war  (in  1S47)  a  distressing  famine  occurred 
in  Ireland,  which,  with  short  crops  in  other  parts  of  Europe,  created  an  unpre- 
cedented demand  for  American  breadstuff's.  This,  of  course,  raised  the  price  of 
grain  to  high  figures,  aud  carried  large  profit  and  ready  money  to  the  door  of 
every  farmer  in  the  land. 


LIFE   AND   WORK   OF    JAMES   G.   BLAINE.  241 

Third. — The  Mexican  war  had  scarcely  closed,  the  Irish  famine  had  only 
been  partially  relieved,  when  (in  1848-49)  tumults  and  revolutions  occurred 
in  nearly  every  European  kingdom.  The  direct  result  was  the  disorganization 
of  industry  and  the  depression  of  trade  all  over  the  continent.  Demand  for 
our  breadstuff's  continued,  and  competition  of  European  fabrics  was  so  reduced 
that  every  form  of  industry  in  the  United  States  was  stimulated  to  fill  the 
demands  of  the  home  market. 

Fourth. — The  convulsions  of  Europe  were  still  in  progress  when  another 
stimulus  was  added  to  our  prosperity.  Vast  deposits  of  gold  were  found  in  Cali- 
fornia, and  from  1S49  onward,  for  several  years,  the  trade  of  the  country  in  all 
departments  was  quickened  to  a  degree  never  before  known.  The  demand  for 
shipping  to  carry  passengers  to  the  land  of  gold,  and  supplies  to  sustain  them, 
gave  new  life  to  our  navigation  interests  and  filled  the  ocean  with  clipper  ships 
that  had  no  rivals  for  speed  or  beauty.  The  rapid  additions  to  our  gold  currency, 
immediately  followed  by  an  expansion  of  our  paper  currency,  gave  such  an 
abundance  of  money  as  had  never  before  been  dreamed  of.  The  inevitable  result 
was  a  rapid  rise  of  prices  for  labor  and  for  all  commodities,  and  speculation  and 
money-making  were  the  order  of  the  day.  Importations  from  Europe  were  enor- 
mously large,  and  in  settling  the  balances  we  followed  the  theory  of  the  free- 
trade  school,  in  regarding  our  gold  as  simply  a  comrnodity,  to  be  shipped  out 
of  the  country  as  freely  as  iron  or  lead  or  wheat  or  corn. 

Fifth. — In  1854,  before  the  craze  of  speculation  had  time  to  cool,  another 
great  event  came  to  pass  which  still  further  increased  our  prosperity.  It  really 
seemed  as  if  the  whole  world  had  conspired  to  have  every  accident  and  every 
calamity  happen  for  our  benefit.  When  our  prosperity  was  already  great  and 
growing,  the  three  leading  nations  of  Europe — as  nations  were  then  ranked — 
Great  Britain,  Russia  and  France — rushed  into  a  tremendous  war  which  lasted 
until  1S56.  In  its  progress  the  Crimean  struggle  absorbed  the  energies  of  the 
nations  engaged,  removed  to  a  large  extent  the  mercantile  marine  of  England 
and  France  from  peaceful  pursuits,  and  gave  still  greater  expansion  to  our  own 
navigation ;  stopped  the  flow  of  grain  from  Russia,  and  gave  every  opportunity 
for  trade  and  commerce  and  great  profit  to  the  citizens  of  the  United  States. 

But  this  singular  combination  of  good  fortune  to  us  and  ill  fortune  to  others 
could  not  contimie  indefinitely.  Prosperity  built  xipon  the  calamities  of  other 
nations  has  a  most  insecure  and  undesirable  foundation.  The  three  great  Euro- 
pean Powers  made  peace  ;  the  Baltic  and  the  Black  Sea  were  thrown  open  for 
the  exportation  of  Russian  bread  stuffs ;  English  and  French  ships  that  had  been 
engaged  in  war  service  were  at  once  and  everywhere  competing  at  low  prices 
for  the  freight  of  the  world  ;  shipments  of  gold  from  California  began  to  decrease. 
The  wheel  of  fortune  had  turned,  and  the  consequence  was  that  the  portentous 
superstructure  of  credit,  of  speculation,  which  had  been  based  upon  what  the 
gamblers  would  have  termed  our   extraordinary  run  of   luck,  suddenly   came   to 

an  end  when  the  luck  ceased.      The  panic  of    1S57  was   the  closing  chapter    in 

242  LIFE   AND   WORK   OF  JAMES   G.    BLAINE. 

that  extraordinary  ten  years  in  which  the  political  economists  of  the  Democratic 
party  were  constantly  mistaking  effect  for  cause,  were  constantly  blinded  to  the 
actual  condition  of  trade  and  to  the  real  sources  of  our  prosperity,  were  con- 
stantly teaching  to  the  people  of  the  United  States  spurious  theories,  were 
constantly  deceiving  themselves  by  fallacies,  and  were  constantly  drawing  con- 
clusions from  false  premises. 

Notwithstanding  all  the  gold  received  from  California,  it  was  found  that  we 
had  not  enough  in  the  hour  of  panic  to  keep  the  banks,  even  of  the  National 
Metropolis,  from  immediate  suspension.  Enterprises  all  over  the  country  were 
checked  ;  labor  was  thrown  into  confusion  and  distress,  and  for  the  last  three 
years  men  have  been  working  for  less  remuneration  than  has  been  paid  to 
honest  toil  at  any  period  within  the  preceding  quarter  of  a  century.  The  policy 
of  free  trade,  as  embodied  in  the  tariff  of  1846,  had,  in  ten  years,  caused  such 
a  large  importation  of  foreign  goods  that,  besides  all  our  shipments  of  produce 
and  all  the  earnings  of  our  commercial  marine,  it  drained  us  of  four  hundred 
millions  of  gold  to  make  good  the  balance  of  trade  against  us.  I  mean  four 
hundred  millions  of  gold,  net,  over  and- above  the  amount  which  in  the  currents 
of  trade  was  occasionally  shipped  to  us  from  Europe.  The  bankers  of  New 
York,  the  great  majority  of  whom  had  sustained  the  free-trade  policy,  were 
among  the  first  to  ask  extension  on  their  obligations.  They  could  pay  in  their 
own  bills,  but  the  specie  which  should  have  been  in  their  vaults  had  been  sold 
by  them  for  shipment  abroad,  to  make  good  the  balance  which  their  favorite 
tariff  of  1846  had  constantly  accumulated  against  us  in  Europe. 

These  lessons,  fellow-citizens,  are  serious,  and  the  Republican  National 
Convention  has  appreciated  their  meaning.  That  convention  recalls  us,  in  its 
platform,  to  the  policy  of  adjusting  our  revenues  so  as  to  protect  labor,  encour- 
age home  manufactures,  create  a  balance  of  trade  in  our  favor,  and  keep  our 
gold  at  home.  While  fighting  against  the  admission  of  servile  toil  of  the  black 
man  in  the  new  Territories  of  the  continent,  Republicans  will  fight  also  for 
liberal  wages  to  the  toiling  white  men  of  the  old  States  of  the  Union.  This 
position  is  the  logical  sequence,  the  logical  necessity  of  the  Republican  party. 
An  anti-slavery  part}'  is  by  the  irresistible  force  of  its  principles  a  protection  party, 
for  it  is  based  upon  the  rights  of  labor  for  the  white  man  and  the  black  man  alike. 

I  do  not  doubt,  Mr.  Chairman,  that  I  dwell  on  this  new  plank  in  our 
Republican  platform  at  greater  length  and  with  keener  personal  interest  than 
woiild  any  of  the  gentlemen  who  are  to  follow  me.  I  was  a  college-bo}'  in  my 
native  State  when  the  tariff  of  1846  was  enacted,  and  I  can  remember  how 
profound  and  how  angry  was  the  agitation  throughout  Pennsylvania  while  thej 
bill  was  pending,  how  bitter  and  intense  was  the  popular  indignation  when  it  was 
finally  passed.  I  say  popular  indignation,  because  the  two  parties  were  not 
divided  on  the  question  of  protection.  The  supporters  of  Mr.  Polk  in  that  State 
in  the  contest  of  1844  cried  as  loudly  for  the  tariff  of  '42  as  did  the  supporters 
of  Mr.   Clay. 



The  peculiar  bitterness  in  Pennsylvania,  the  acrimony,  the  sense  of  betrayal 
which  they  felt,  came  from  the  fact  that  the  tariff  of  '46  was  passed  through 
the  Senate  by  the  casting  vote  of  the  Vice-President,  George  M.  Dallas,  a  dis- 
tinguished Pennsylvanian,  who  had  been  associated  with  Mr.  Polk  on  the 
Democratic  ticket  for  the  purpose  of  rallying  the  State  against  the  overwhelming 
prestige  of  Mr.  Clay  as  a  Protectionist. 

In  the  hour  of  trial  Mr.  Dallas  failed  his  friends.  Nor  was  Mr.  Dallas  the 
only  man  of  Pennsylvania  blood  and  birth  who  disappointed  the  expectation  of 
his  State.  Mr.  Buchanan  was  Secretary  of  State  in  Mr.  Polk's  Cabinet  at  the 
time,  and  though  he  had  shown  his  belief  in  Protection  by  voting  for  the  tariff 
of  1S42,  he  exerted  no  influence  from  his  high  place  to  stay  its  repeal,  but  rather 
co-operated  with  the  Secretary  of  the 
Treasury,  Robert  '  J.  Walker,  another 
Pennsylvania^  by  birth,  in  his  zealous 
work  for  the  tariff  of  1S46.  Three  Penn- 
sylvania Democrats,  therefore,  stand  in 
different  degrees  responsible  for  the  tariff 
of  1846,  and  that  fact  will  prove  of 
immense  value  to  the  Republicans  in 
their  pending  struggle  for  political  power 
in  that  State. 

When  Mr.  Buchanan  ran  for  President 
four  years  ago,  the  bubble  of  fancied 
prosperity  from  free  trade  had  not  burst, 
and  he  was  enabled,  though,  as  I  have 
already  said,  by  the  closest  of  votes,  to 
hold  his  State.  But  there  has  been  a 
revulsion — possibly  it  may  be  a  revolu- 
tion— of  public  sentiment  on  this  question 
in  Pennsylvania.  A  distinguished  citizen 
of  that  State,  whom  I  met  at  the  Repub- 
lican National  Convention  in  May,  told 
— I  think  he  said  two-thirds — of  all  the  iron  establishments  had  gone  through 
some  form  of  insolvency  or  assignment  under  the  tariff  of  1846,  especially  within 
the  last  three  years,  when  the  Free  Traders  went  one  step  farther  in  the  amend- 
ment to  the  tariff  in   1857,  just  preceding  the  panic. 

Let  us  then  do  our  full  duty  in  Maine  on  both  questions  that  are  included 
in  the  national  platform.  The  larger,  grander  issue  of  freedom  for  the  Territories, 
which  concerns  "  the  rights  of  human  nature,"  is  in  perfect  harmony  with  the 
industrial  issue  upon  which  I  have  dwelt.  Both  can  stand  together,  and  if  they 
do  not,  both  will  fall  together." 

ThESE  trial  efforts  of  the  young  statesman  of  Maine — destined  as  he  was 
to  become  so    striking  a    figure  in    the  Congressional    and  diplomatical    history 




of  a  quarter  of  a  century — possess  a  peculiar  interest.  They  show  the  trial 
flights.  We  note  with  pleasure  the  vigor  of  wing  on  which  the  thought  of 
the  orator  sweeps  around.  The  speeches  are  strong  and  comprehensive.  They 
are  essentially  political,  but,  nevertheless,  have  in  them  the  premonitions  of 
statesmanship.  True,  the  occasion  favored  development  on  the  special  lines  of 
policy  and  action  which  Blaine  successfull}7  pursued.  The  last  years  of  the 
sixth  and  first  of  his  seventh  decade  were  rife  with  such  questions  as  do  not 
rise  every  day  to  the  surface  of  affairs.  They  were  critical.  They  broke  in 
commotion  on  the  wide  seas  of  public  thought.  The  spirit  of  voung  men 
must  needs  be  agitated  by  the  turmoil  around  them.  It  was  a  great  da}'. 
Blaine,  with  many  others,  caught  the  sense  and  spirit  of  it  and  became,  even 
in  this  first  period  of  his  public  activity,  an  expositor  of  situations,  an  inter- 
preter of  principles  to  the  understandings  of  his  fellow-men.  ' 



a  speaker,  the  second  epoch  of  Mr.  Blaine's  career 
opened  in  the  House  of  Representatives.     To  that 
body  he  was  elected,  as  we  have  seen,  from  the  Ken- 
nebec district,  in  the  fall  of  1S62.     With  the  begin- 
ning of  the  new  Congress  in  the  next  year  he  took 
his  seat,  and  it  was  not  long  until  he  began  to 
show  his  powers  in  the  discussion  of  the  great 
questions  of  the  hour.    Already  before  leaving 
the    legislature  of  his  adopted  State,   namely, 
on  the  seventh  of  February,  1862,  he  had  made 
a  long  and   thoughtful  speech  on  "The  Con- 
fiscation of  Rebel  Property."     In  the  course  of 
the    address    he    discussed    the  war  power  of 
Congress,  cited    precedents  of  the  exercise  of  such  power 
in    the    Mexican  war,  adduced    the    authority  of  Webster 
and  Kent,  debated  the  question  as  to  whether  the  seceded 
States  were    in  the  Union    or    out  of  the  Union,  declared 
the  magnanimity  of  the  Republican  policy,  and  predicted 
victory  for  the  Union  cause.     In  conclusion  he  said: 

"  This    mighty    struggle,  sir,  will    close   with  victory 
for  the  Union  and  for  constitutional  liberty.     The  triumphs 
at  Mill   Spring,  at  Roanoke,  at  Henry,  and  at  Donelson, 
f  are  but  the  earnest  of  the  unbroken  success  which,  under 

the  vigorous  counsels  now  controlling  the  army,  are  to 
attend  the  Union  cause.  It  is  not  to  be  as  it  has  been.  In  the  past  autumn 
and  early  winter  our  prospects  seemed  dark  and  dreary.  We  close  the  year 
with  those  terrible  disasters  at  Big  Bethel,  at  Bull  Run,  at  Ball's  Bluff  unre- 
deemed ;  and  our  national  energies  seemed  paralyzed  with  inaction  and  with 
treason.  The  war  was  being  conducted  in  a  manner  that  never  did  and  never 
will  and  never  can  achieve  anything  but  misfortune  and  disgrace.  It  was  a  war 
of  half  measures,  painfully  parallel  in  policy  with  that  which  in  England, 
under  the  temporizing  expedients  urged  by  such  leaders  as  Essex  and  Manchester 
and  Northumberland,  had  well-nigh  sacrificed  the  popular  cause  in  the  contest 
with  the  first  Charles — a  policy  which  is  thus  decribed  and  denounced  by  that 
memorable  historian  and  statesman  of  England,  whose  untimely  death,  two  years 
ago,  was  so  deeply  deplored  on   both  sides  of  the  Atlantic: — 




That  the  failure    of  General 
will    cost    this    nation    three 

'"If  there  be  any  truth  established  by  the  universal  experience  of  nations, 
it  is  this  :  that  to  carry  the  spirit  of  peace  into  war,  is  a  weak  and  cruel  policy. 
The  time  of  negotiation  is  the  time  for  deliberation  and  delay.  But  when  an 
extreme  case  calls  for  that  remedy,  which  is  in  its  own  nature  most  violent,  and 
which,  in  such  cases,  is  a  remedy  only  because  it  is  violent,  it  is  idle  to 
think  of  mitigating  and  diluting.  Languid  war  can  do  nothing  which  negotia- 
tion or  submission  will  not  do  better  :  and  to  act  on  any  other  principle,  is  not 
to  save  blood  and  money,  but  to  squander  them.' 

"As  an  apposite  illustration  of  the  pregnant  truth  thus  enunciated  by  Lord 
Macaulay,  I  close    by  quoting    the  well-known    declaration  of  Edwin  M.  Stanton, 

McClellan  to  attack    Manassas  in    December    last 
hundred    millions    of  dollars  and    thirty  thousand 
precious  lives.'  " 

The  reader  will  readily  observe  in  this  brief 
extract  the  range  which  the  mind  of  Blaine  was 
taking  even  before  his  accession  to  Congress. 
The  same  quality  is  observed  in  his  next  im- 
portant address,  which  was  delivered  four  days 
afterwards,  on  the  occasion  of  his  nomination  for 
a  seat  in  the  House  of  Representatives.  It  was 
clear  already  that  while  the  speaker  was  prudently 
concerned  with  such  local  questions  as  belonged 
to  the  politics  of  his  own  State,  those  questions 
and  the  discussion  of  them  could  by  no  means 
satisfy  his  aspirations.  Once  in  the  House  of 
Representatives  he  gave  free  rein  to  his  thought. 
Mark  well  a  single  paragraph  from  his  speech 
of  April  21,  1S64.  In  discussing  the  question 
whether  the  country  could  stand  the  financial  strain  of  the  war  and  not  go 
bankrupt,  he  says  : 

"  Our  facilities  for  commerce  and  exchange,  both  domestic  and  foreign — 
who  shall  measure  them  ?  Our  ocean,  our  vast  inland  sea,  our  marvelous  flow 
of  navigable  streams,  our  canals,  our  network  of  railroads  more  than  thirty 
thousand  miles  in  extent — these  give  us  avenues  of  trade  and  channels  of  com- 
munication, both  natural  and  artificial,  such  as  no  other  nation  has  ever  enjoyed, 
and  which  tends  to  the  production  of  wealth  with  a  rapidity  not  to  be  measured 
by  any  standard  of  the  past.  The  enormous  field  for  manufacturing  industry 
in  all  its  complex  and  endless  variety— with  our  raw  material,  our  wonderful 
motive  power,  both  of  water  and  steam,  our  healthful  climate,  our  chief  carriage, 
our  home  consumption,  our  foreign  demands — foreshadows  a  traffic  whose  mag- 
nitude and  whose  profit  cannot  now  be  estimated.  Our  mines  of  gold  and  silver 
and  iron  and  copper,  and  lead  and  coal,  with  their  untold  and  unimaginable 
wealth,  spread  over  millions  of  acres  of  territory  in  the  valley,  on  the  mountain- 




side,   along  rivers,   yielding    already  a  rich    harvest,   are  destined   yet  to  increase 
a  thousand-fold  until  their  every-day  treasures, 

'  familiar  grown, 
Shall  realize  Orient's  fabled  wealth.'  ' 

It  is  easy  to  perceive  in  this  brief  extract  the  first  flight  of  a  spirit  which 
might  well  come  to  consider  in  mature  years  such  questions  as  inter-continental 
railways,  Isthmian  canals,  and  the  whole  vast  question  of  international  trade. 

In  this  chapter,  it  is  our  purpose  to  quote  freely  from  Blaine's  congressional 
speeches.     On  the  seventh  of  December,  1864,  he  spoke  as  follows  on  the 



Mr.  Speaker — I  move  to  reconsider  the  vote  whereby  the  House  yesterday 
referred  to  the  Committee  of  Ways  and  Means  a  bill  introduced  by  the  gentleman 

from  Pennsylvania  [Mr.  Thaddeus  Stevens], 
"  to  prevent  gold  and  silver  coin  and  bullion 
from  being  paid  or  exchanged  for  a  greater 
value  than  their  real  current  value,  and  for 
preventing  any  note  or  bill  issued  by  the 
United  States,  and  made  lawful  money  and 
a  legal  tender,  from  being  received  for  a 
smaller  sum  than  is  therein  specified."  I 
believe,  Mr.  Speaker,  that  this  bill  has  been 
productive  of  great  mischief  in  the  brief 
twenty-four  hours  that  it  has  been  allowed 
to  float  before  the  public  mind  as  a  measure 
seriously  entertained  by  this  House.  I  believe 
that  still  more  mischief  will  ensue  every  day 
and  every  hour  the  House  stands  committed 
to  such  legislation,  even  by  the  motion  of 
courtesy  which  refers  the  bill  to  a  committee. 
The  provisions  of  the  bill  are  very  extraordinary,  and  but  for  the  respect  I  feel 
for  the  distinguished  gentleman  who  introduced  it,  I  should  say  they  were  absurd 
and  monstrous.      Let  me  read  two  or  three  of  these  provisions  : 

"  2.  That  a  dollar  note  issued  by  the  Government,  declared  lawful  money 
and  legal  tender,  is  declared  of  equal  value  for  all  purposes  as  gold  and  silver 
coin  of  like  denomination. 

"  3.  That  a  contract  made  payable  in  coin  may  be  payable  in  legal-tender 
United  States  notes,  and  that  no  difference  in  sale  or  value  shall  be  allowed 
between  them. 

"  5.  That  no  person  shall  by  any  device,  shift  or  contrivance  receive  or 
pay,  or  contract  to  receive  or  pay,  any  Treasury  or  other  note  issued  by  the 
United  States  for  circulation  as  money,  and  declared  legal  tender,  for  less  than 




their  lawfully  expressed  value;    aud    any  offender,  upon  conviction,  shall  suffer 
imprisonment  not  exceeding    six    months,  and  a  fine  equal    to    the  full    amount 

of    the    sum    speci- 
fied in  said  note. 

"6.  That  if  any 
person  shall,  in  the 
purchase  or  sale  of 
gold  or  silver  coin 
or  bullion,  agree  to 
receive  in  payment 
notes  of  corpora- 
tions or  individuals 
at  less  than  par 
value,  he  shall  be 
deemed  to  have  of- 
fended against  the 
provisions  of  this 
act,  and  shall  be 
punished  accord- 

I  forbear  to  re- 
cite the  remainder 
of  the  bill.  I  have 
read  enough  to 
show,  that  if  it 
should  become  a 
law,  the  entire  pop- 
ulation on  the  Paci- 
fic coast  would  be 
liable  to  indictment 
and  conviction  for  a 
criminal  offence 
simply  because  they 
will  persist  in  be- 
lieving that  in  the 
present  condition 
of  our  currency  a 
gold  dollar  is  worth 
more  than  a  paper 
dollar.  Not  limit- 
ing the  scope  of  the 

bill  to  the    protection  of    Government    currency,  the    gentleman    from    Pennsyl- 
vania still  further  proposes  to  punish,  as  for  a  misdemeanor,  any  one  who  shall 


LIFE   AND   WORK   OF  JAMES   G.   BLAINE.  249 

agree  to  sell  gold  and  receive  in  payment  "  notes  of  corporations  or  individuals 
at  less  than  par  value." 

The  whole  bill,  sir,  aims  at  what  is  simply  impossible.  You  cannot  by  a 
■congressional  enactment  make  a  coin  dollar  worth  less  than  it  is,  or  a  paper 
dollar  worth  more  than  it  is.  I  think  we  had  experience  enough  in  that  direc- 
tion with  the  famous  gold  bill  at  the  last  session.  We  passed  that  measure 
after  a  very  severe  pressure,  and  with  great  promises  as  to  the  wonders  it  would 
work  in  Wall  street.  It  continued  on  the  statute-book  for  some  twelve  days — 
gold  advancing  at  a  rapid  rate  every  day  until  its  repeal  was  effected.  The  bill 
now  under  consideration  has  already  had  a  most  pernicious  effect ;  and  should 
it  become  a  law,  no  man  can  measure  the  degree  of  its  hurtful  influence.  It  is 
for  these  reasons  that  I  ^desire  to  have  its  reference  reconsidered. 

In  regard  to  the  specific  line  of  argument  used  by  the  chairman  of  Ways 
and  Means  to  justify  this  extraordinary  measure,  let  me  say,  Mr.  Speaker,  that 
I  have  read  English  history  on  this  subject  with  different  conclusions  from  those 
so  confidently  expressed  by  him.  My  impression  is  that  the  well-weighed  judg- 
ment, the  deliberate  conclusion  of  the  British  people  was  and  is  that  such 
prohibitory  statutes  as  the  gentleman  has  cited  have  no  favorable  effect  upon  the 
price  of  gold.  That  the)-  did  not  have  a  prejudicial  and  disastrous  effect  in 
England  is  due  to  the  existence  of  other  powerful  causes,  whose  operation  and 
effect  were  most  beneficent.  Those  causes  for  the  decline  and  continued  low 
price  of  gold  are  found,  sir,  in  the  fact  that  the  British  Parliament  raised  by 
taxation  half,  and  sometimes  more  than  half,  of  the  total  amount  annually 
expended  in  her  fierce  struggle  with  Napoleon,  and  British  arms  were  at  the 
same  time  crowned  with  a  series  of  brilliant  and  decisive  victories.  Indeed,  the 
gentleman  from  Pennsylvania  himself,  somewhat  unconsciously  perhaps,  admits 
the  whole  force  of  my  position  on  this  point ;  for  he  states  that  eight  years 
before  the  English  people  resumed  specie  payment  (in  1S23)  the  premium  011 
gold  had  fallen  to  a  mere  nominal  rate.  I  admit  it,  sir ;  and  I  ask  the  honor- 
able gentleman,  what  brought  it  there  ?  Unconsciously,  as  I  have  said,  the 
gentleman  named  the  precise  date  of  the  battle  of  Waterloo,  and  the  British 
victory  on  that  memorable  field  was  the  cause  of  gold  ruling  low  in  London  in 
181=;.  By  the  battle  of  Waterloo  England's  supremacy  was  established ;  she  had 
broken  and  beaten  all  coalitions  against  her,  and  was  confessedly  mistress  on 
land  and  sea.  It  was  her  strong  military  and  naval  position  and  her  resolute 
system  of  finance  that  raised  the  value  of  her  bonds  and  brought  down  the  price 
of  gold.  It  was  not  her  prohibitory  legislation  at  all ;  no  intelligent  minister 
of  finance,  no  English  historian  worthy  of  credit,  has  ever  stated  that  it  was. 

Let  us,  sir,  imitate  England  in  raising  our  credit  by  wise  legislation  here, 
and  by  continued  victories  in  the  field.  If  we  could  raise  half  of  our  expenses 
by  taxation,  and  could  add  to  our  many  triumphs  on  land  and  sea  a  Waterloo 
victory  over  the  hosts  of  the  rebellion,  we  should  need   no    such    legislation    as 

250  LIFE   AND   WORK   OF  JAMES   G.   BLAINE. 

the  gentleman  has  proposed  to  keep  down,  the  price  of  gold.  When  we  reach 
that  happy  period  of  final  triumph,  the  gentleman's  bill,  if  enacted,  might  prove 
harmless  ;  but  until  then  its  manifest  effect  can  only  be  injurious  to  the  cause 
it  seeks  to  serve." 

One  of  the  questions  which  sprang  into  full  view  at  the  close  of  the  war 
was  the  new  basis  of  representation  in  Congress.  The  people  came  to  see  that 
the  old  basis  had  been  unequal  and  unjust.  This  is  said  of  the  counting  of 
the  blacks  as  though  they  were  human  beings,  or  human  beings  in  part,  in  the 
matter  of  fixing  the  ratio  of  representation  in  the  Southern  States.  It  was  one 
of  the  compromises  of  the  Constitution  that  where  slavery  existed  in  the  Union, 
the  slaves  should  be  enumerated  and  three-fifths  of  the  number  be  added  to  the 
white  inhabitants  in  establishing  the  basis  of  representation.  The  other  two- 
fifths  of  the  negro  population  were  to  be  goods,  pure  and  simple !  This  sort  of 
unthinkable  thing  might  suffice  for  the  first  half-century  of  the  American 
Republic,  but  it  could  not  survive  through  the  second  half.  With  the  end  of 
the  war  and  the  restoration  of  national  authority,  the  whole  question  had  to  be 
reviewed  on  the  ground  of  justice  and  right.  On  the  eighth  of  January,  iS66, 
Mr.  Blaine  addressed  the  House  as  follows : 


Mr.  Speaker — Since  the  beginning  of  the  present  session  we  have  had 
several  propositions  to  amend  the  Federal  Constitution  with  respect  to  the  basis 
of  representation  in  Congress.  These  propositions  have  differed  somewhat  in 
phrase,  but  they  all  embrace  substantially  the  one  idea  of  making  suffrage, 
instead  of  population,  the  basis  of  apportioning  representatives ;  in  other  words, 
to  give  to  the  States  in  future  a  representation  proportioned  to  their  voters 
instead  of  their  inhabitants. 

The  effect  contemplated  and  intended  by  this  change  is  perfectly  well 
understood,  and  on  all  hands  frankly  avowed.  It  is  to  deprive  the  lately  rebel- 
lious States  of  the  unfair  advantage  of  a  large  representation  in  this  House, 
based  on  their  colored  population,  so  long  as  that  population  shall  be  denied 
political  rights  by  the  legislation  of  those  States.  The  proposed  amendment 
would  simply  say  to  those  States,  that  so  long  as  they  refused  to  enfranchise 
their  black  population  they  shall  have  no  representation  based  on  their  numbers  ; 
but  admit  them  to  political  and  civil  rights,  and  they  shall  at  once  be  counted 
to  their  advantage  in  the  apportionment  of  representatives. 

The  direct  object  thus  aimed  at,  as  it  respects  the  rebellious  States,  has 
been  so  generally  approved  that  little  thought  seems  to  have  been  given  to  the 
incidental  evils  which  the  proposed  constitutional  amendment  would  inflict  on 
certain  loyal  States.  As  an  abstract  proposition  no  one  will  deny  that  popula- 
tion is  the  basis  of  representation ;  for  women  and  children  and  other  non- 
voting classes  may  have  as  vital  an  interest  in  the  legislation  of  the  country 
as  those  who  actually  deposit    the  ballot.     Indeed,  the  very  amendment    we  are 

LIFE   AND   WORK   OF  JAMES   G.   BLAINE.  251 

discussing  implies  that  population  is  the  true  basis,  inasmuch  as  the  exclusion 
of  the  black  people  of  the  South  from  political  rights  has  suggested  this  indi- 
rectly coercive  mode  of  securing  those  rights  to  them.  Were  the  negroes  to 
be  enfranchised  throughout  the  South  to-day,  no  one  would  insist  on  the  adop- 
tion of  this  amendment ;  and  yet  if  the  amendment  shall  be  incorporated  in 
the  Federal  Constitution,  its  incidental  evils  will  abide  in  the  loyal  States 
long  after  the  direct  evil  which  it  aims  to  cure  may  have  been  eradicated  in  the 
Southern  States. 

If  voters  instead  of  population  shall  be  made  the  basis  of  representation, 
certain  results  will  follow,  not  fully  appreciated  perhaps  by  some  who  are 
now  urgent  for  the  change.  I  will  confine  my  examination  of  these  results  to 
the  free  States.  The  ratio  of  voters  to  population  varies  widely  in  different 
sections,  ranging  from  a  minimum  of  nineteen  per  cent  to  a  maximum  of  fifty- 
eight  per  cent ;  and  the  changes  which  this  fact  would  work  in  the  relative 
representation  of  certain  States  would  be  monstrous.  For  example,  California 
has  a  population  of  358,110,  and  Vermont  314,369,  and  each  has  three  repre- 
sentatives on  this  floor  to-day  ;  but  California  cast  207,000  votes,  in  electing  her 
three  representatives,  and  Vermont  cast  87,000.  Assuming  voters  as  the  basis 
of  apportionment,  and  allowing  to  Vermont  three  representatives,  California 
would  be  entitled  to  eight.  The  great  State  of  Ohio,  with  nearly  seven  times 
the  population  of  California,  would  have  but  little  more  than  two  and  a  half 
times  the  number  of  representatives ;  and  New  York,  with  quite  eleven  times 
the  population  of  California,  would  have  in  the  new  style  of  apportionment 
less  than  five  times  as  many  members  of  this  House.  California,  it  mav  be 
said,  presents  an  extreme  case,  but  no  more  so  than  will  continually  recur  for 
the  next  century  under  the  stimulus  to  the  emigration  of  young  voters  from 
the  older  States  to  the  inviting  fields  of  the  Mississippi  Valley  and  the  Pacific 
slope.  .............. 

There  is  no  need,  Mr.  Speaker,  of  precipitating  this  evil  of  inequality 
among  States,  in  order  to  cure  the  evil  complained  of.  The  Constitution  may 
be  amended  so  as  to  prevent  the  one  evil  without  involving  others  of  greater 
magnitude,  and  I  venture  to  express  the  belief  that  the  proposition  submitted 
by  me  this  morning  will,  if  adopted,  secure  the  desired  result.  Let  me  briefly 
explain  that  proposition. 

The  Constitution  of  the  United  States,  Article  I.,  Section  2,  Clause  3,  reads 
as  follows  to  the  first  period : — 

"Representatives  and  direct  taxes  shall  be  apportioned  among  the  several 
States  which  may  be  included  within  this  Union  according  to  their  respective 
numbers,  which  shall  be  determined  by  [adding  to  the  whole  number  of  free 
persons,  including  those  bound  to  service  for  a  term  of  years,  and  excluding  Indians 
not  taxed,  three-fifths  of  all  other  persons).'1'' 

The  portion  which  I  have  included  in  parentheses  has  become  meaningless 
and  nugatory  by  the  adoption  of  the  constitutional  amendment  which  abolishes 

252  LIFE   AND   WORK   OF  JAMES   G.   BLAINE. 

the  distinction  between  "free  persons"  and  "all  other  persons,"  and  being  thus 
a  dead  letter  might  as  well  be  formally  struck  out.  In  its  stead  I  propose  to 
insert  the  words  following  included  in  parentheses,  so  that  the  clause  as  amended 
would  read  thus  : — 

"  Representatives  and  direct  taxes  shall  be  apportioned  among  the  several 
States,  which  may  be  included  within  this  Union  according  to  their  respective 
numbers,  which  shall  be  determined  by  (taking  the  whole  number  of  per- 
sons, except  those  to  whom  civil  or  political  rights  or  privileges  are  denied 
or  abridged  by  the  Constitution    or    laws  of  any  State    on    account    of   race    or 




This  is  a  very  simple  and  very  direct  way,  it  seems  to  me,  of  reaching 
the  desired  result  without  embarrassment  to  any  other  question  or  interest.  It 
leaves  population,  as  heretofore,  the  basis  of  representation,  does  not  disturb  in 
any  manner  the  harmonious  relations  of  the  loyal  States,  and  it  conclusively 
deprives  the  Southern  States  of  all  representation  in  Congress  on  account  of 
the  colored  population,  so  long  as  those  States  may  choose  to  abridge  or  deny 
to  that  population  the  political  rights  and  privileges  accorded  to  others." 

The  comprehensiveness  of  these  remarks  and  their  aptness  on  the  sub 
ject  of  the  basis  of  representation  may  be  noted  with  admiration.  It  is  worthy 
of  record  that  the  speech,  brief  as  it  is,  was  the  first  open  declaration  in  that  I 
Congress  [the  thirty-ninth]  in  favor  of  basing  representation  in  that  body,  I 
not  on  the  voting,  but  on  the  whole  population.  The  same  views  were  taken  I 
up  and  expanded  by  Mr.  Blaine  at  a  mass  meeting  of  the  Republican  party  at  I 
Skowhegan,  in  his  own  State,  on  the  twenty-ninth  of  August,  1866.  The  speaker  II 
became  a  champion  of  the  new  principle  that  the  right  of  representation  inheres  I 
in  all  the  people,  and  not  in  those  only  upon  whom  the  suffrage  had  been  I 
•conferred  by  law. 

Now  it  was  that  the  great  question  of  the  restoration  of  civil  power  in  the  | 
South  was  thrust    upon    the  American  people  and  their  representatives.       Whol 
should    have    that    power  ?       Should    it    be  those  who  had    lately  been  in  arms  I 
against  the  Government?      Should  they  who  had  recently  embarked  their  whole  I 
fortunes  in  the  cause  of  disunion  now  return  to  exercise  the  powers  of  the  veryl 
Government  which  they  had  so  strenuously  sought    to  destroy  ?      The  Republi- ) 
can    leaders    of   the    day  generally  answered    these    questions    in    the    negative. 
Blaine,  himself,  was    strongly  opposed    to    the    free  return  of   the  insurgents  to 
their  places  in  the  Government.     The  South  had  refused  to  accept  reconstruction 
on  the  basis  of  the    Fourteenth  Amendment.       What  should    be  done  about  it  ?  ■ 
On    the    tenth  of   December,   1866,  Mr.   Blaine  delivered  a  speech  in  the  House 
of   Representatives    on  the    question, 


Mr.  Chairman. — The     popular    elections    of    1866    have    decided    that    the! 
lately  rebellious  States  shall  not  be  re-admitted  to  the  privilege  of  representation 

LIFE   AND   WORK    OF  JAMES   G.    BLAINE.  253 

in  Congress  on  any  less  stringent  condition  than  the  adoption  of  the  pending 
constitutional  amendment.  But  those  elections  have  not  determined  that  the 
privilege  of  representation  shall  be  given  to  those  States  as  an  immediate  con- 
sequence of  adopting  the  amendment.  In  that  respect  the  decision  of  the  loyal 
people  has  been  rather  negative  than  affirmative  ;  expressive  of  the  least  that 
would  be  accepted  rather  than  indicative  of  the  most  that  might  be  demanded. 
Had  the  Southern  States,  after  the  adjournment  of  Congress,  accepted  the 
amendment  promptly  and  in  good  faith  as  a  definitive  basis  of  adjustment,  the  loyal 
States  would  have  indorsed  it  as  such,  and  the  second  session  of  the  thirty-ninth 
Congress  would  have  been  largely  engaged  in  perfecting  the  details  for  the  full 
and  complete  representation  of  all  the  States  on  the  new  basis  of  apportionment. 

The  Southern  States,  however,  have  not  accepted  the  amendment  as  a  basis 
of  adjustment,  but  have  on  the  other  hand  vehemently  opposed  it;  every  one 
of  them  that  has  thus  far  acted  on  the  question,  with  the  exception  of  Tennessee, 
having  defiantly  rejected  it.  This  absolute  and  obdurate  refusal  on  the  part  of 
those  States  to  accept  the  amendment  as  the  condition  of  their  regaining  the 
privilege  of  representation,  certainly  relieves  Congress  from  whatever  promise  or 
obligation  may  have  been  originally  implied  in  regard  to  admitting  them  to 
representation  upon  their  adopting  the  amendment — this  promise,  or  implication, 
or  whatever  you  choose  to  term  it,  being,  by  universal  understanding,  condi- 
tioned on  the  Southern  States  accepting  the  amendment  in  good  faith,  as  was 
significantly  illustrated  in  the  case  of  Tennessee. 

But  even  if  the  constitutional  amendment  should  be  definitely  accepted, 
South  as  well  as  North,  as  the  condition  on  which  the  rebel  States  are  to  regain 
the  privilege  of  congressional  representation,  the  actual  enjoyment  of  that  privi- 
lege would  of  necessity  be  postponed  until  the  terms  of  the  amendment  could 
be  complied  with,  and  that  would  involve  a  somewhat  uncertain  period  of  time. 
I  take  it  for  granted,  as  I  did  when  I  voted  for  the  constitutional  amendment, 
and  as  I  presume  every  other  gentleman  on.  this  floor  did,  that  we  are  not  to 
be  guilt}-  of  the  supreme  foil}'  of  declaring  that  the  basis  of  representation  is 
so  unfair  as  to  require  correction  by  constitutional  amendment,  and  then  forth- 
with admit  the  Southern  States  to  the  House  with  their  undue  and  inequitable 
share  cf  representatives.  If  the  Southern  States  are  to  be  deprived  of  their 
undue  share  of  representatives,  based  on  their  non-voting  population,  the}7  should 
be  deprived  of  them  at  once,  and  not  be  admitted,  even  temporarily,  with  the 
old  apportionment,  by  which  they  would  continue  to  exercise  in  the  House  of 
Representatives  and  in  the  electoral  college  the  same  weight  of  influence 
enjoyed  by  them  before  the  rebellion. 

The  population  of  the  States  recently  slave-holding  was  by  the  census  of 
i860  only  12,240,000,  of  whom  8,039,000  were  whites  and  4,201,000  negroes. 
The  population  of  the  free  States  bv  the  same  census  was  19,201,546,  of  whom 
only  237,000  were  negroes.  It  would  hardly  be  maintained  by  any  one  that 
the  States  lately  slave-holding,  taken  as  a  whole,  have  done  anything  more  than 

254  LIFE   AND   WORK   OF  JAMES   G.    BLAINE. 

hold  good  their  population  of  i860,  while  in  the  free  States,  despite  the  losses  of 
the  war,  the  ratio  of  increase  has  never  been  more  rapid  than  since  that  year. 
It  is  speaking  with  moderation  to  say  that  the  population  of  the  free  States  is; 
to-day   25,000,000. 

Supposing  the  constitutional  amendment  to  be  adopted,  therefore,  as  the 
basis  of  re-admitting  the  Southern  States  to  the  privilege  of  representation,  it 
would  be  a  cruel  mockery  of  the  whole  aim  and  intent  of  that  amendment  to 
usher  those  States  upon  this  floor  with  the  full  number  of  representatives 
assigned  them  by  the  census  of  i860,  when  three-fifths  of  their  slaves  and  all 
their  disfranchised  free  people  of  color  were  allowed  them  in  fixing  the  basis  of 
apportionment.  Were  they  so  admitted  to-day,  the  aggregate  number  of  repre- 
sentatives from  the  late  slave  States  would  be  eighty-five,  and  from  the  free  States 
156,  making  a  House  of  241  in  all.  And  yet  if  those  241  members  were  divided 
between  the  free  and  slave  States  on  the  basis  of  the  representative  population, 
as  directed  by  the  constitutional  amendment,  the  slave  States  would  have  but 
fifty-eight  members,  while  the  free  States  would  have  1S3. 

A  corresponding  change  would  be  wrought  in  the  electoral  college.  Were 
the  Government  to  permit  an  election  for  president  and  vice-president  in  1868 
on  the  basis  assigned  by  the  census  of  1S60,  the  late  slave  States  would  have 
115  electoral  votes,  while  the  free  States  would  have  198.  But  on  the  actual 
basis  contemplated  by  the  constitutional  amendment  the  late  slave  States  would 
have  but  eighty-eight,  while  the  free  States  would  have  225.  On  the  old  basis 
the  free  States  would  thus  have  a  majority  of  eighty-three,  while  on  a  basis  of 
the  constitutional  amendment  they  would  have  a  majority  of  127,  a  net  differ- 
ence of  forty-four  electoral  votes  in  favor  of  the  free  States. 

In  view  of  these  results,  which  are  the  plainest  arithmetical  deductions,  it 
could  not  be  expected  that  the  free  States,  even  if  they  were  to  adhere  to  the 
constitutional  amendment  as  the  ultimatum  of  adjustment,  would  consent  to 
have  the  lately  rebellious  States  admitted  to  representation  here  and  to  a  parti- 
cipation in  the  electoral  college  until  the  relative  and -proper  strength  of  theli 
several  States  should  be  adjusted  anew  by  a  special  census  and  by  an  appor- 
tionment made  in  pursuance  thereof.  It  was  in  this  belief  and  with  these  views | 
that  at  the  last  session  of  Congress  I  framed  a  bill  providing  for  a  special 
enumeration  of  the  inhabitants  of  the  United  States,  which  bill  was  on  my 
motion  referred  to  the  Reconstruction  Committee,  and  has  never  been  reported 
to  the  House  by  that  committee  either  favorably  or  adversely. 

What  then  shall  be  done  ?  The  people,  so  far  as  I  represent  them,  have 
plainly  spoken  in  the  late  elections,  and  the  interpretation  of  their  voice  is  not 
difficult.  They  have  pronounced  with  unmistakable  emphasis  in  favor  of  the 
constitutional  amendment,  with  the  superadded  and  indispensable  prerequisite 
of  manhood  suffrage.  The  constitutional  amendment,  with  its  definition  of 
American  citizenship,  with  its  guarantee  of  the  national  obligations,  and  with 
its  prohibition  of  the  assumption    of  the    rebel    debt,  is    an   invaluable  addition 

LIFE   AND   WORK   OF  JAMES   G.    BLAINE.  255 

to  our  organic  law.  We  cannot  surrender  its  provisions,  and  the  rebel  States 
cannot  by  their  utmost  resistance  defeat  its  ultimate  adoption.  It  is  too  late  to 
deny  or  even  to  argue  the  right  or  power  of  the  Government  to  impose  upon 
those  States  conditions  precedent  to  their  resumption  of  the  privilege  of 
representation.  The  president  set  the  example  by  exacting  three  highly 
important  concessions  from  those  States  as  his  basis  of  reconstruction.  Congress 
followed  by  imposing  four  other  conditions  as  its  basis  of  reconstruction.  Now 
the  people  have  spoken,  demanding  one  additional  condition  as  their  basis  of 
reconstruction,  and  that  condition  is  the  absolute  equality  of  American  citizens 
in  civil  and  political  rights  without  regard  to  caste,  color,  or  creed. 

The  objection  in  the  popular  mind  of  the  loyal  States  to  the  constitutional 
amendment  as  a  basis  of  final  adjustment  is  not  directed  to  what  that 
amendment  will  effect,  but  to  what  it  will  not  effect.  Among  the  objects  of  prime 
importance  which  it  will  not  effect  is  the  absolute  protection  of  the  two  classes 
in  the  South  to  whom  the  Government  owes  a  special  debt — the  loyal  white 
men  and  the  loyal  black  men.  The  amendment,  if  made  the  basis  of  final 
adjustment  without  further  condition,  leaves  the  rebel  element  of  the  South  in 
possession  of  the  local  governments,  free  to  persecute  the  Union  men  of  all 
complexions  in  numberless  ways ;  and  to  deprive  them  of  all  participation  in 
civil  affairs,  provided  they  will  submit  to  a  curtailed  representation  in  Con- 
gress as  the  penalty.  The  danger  is  that  they  would  accept  the  infliction  on 
themselves  in  order  to  secure  the  power  of  visiting  the  loyalists  with  a 
full  measure  of  vengeance;  just  as  certain  religious  denominations  in  Eng- 
land, at  various  times  under  the  reign  of  the  Stuarts,  favored  measures  of 
proscription  which  bore  with  some  hardship  on  themselves,  because  they  were 
enabled  therebv  to  punish  some  rival  and  hated  sectaries  with  positive  severity 
and  cruelty. 

Among  the  most  solemn  duties  of  a  sovereign  government  is  the  protection 
of  those  citizens  who,  under  great  temptations  and  amid  great  perils,  maintain  their 
faith  and  their  loyalty*  The  obligation  of  the  Federal  Government  to  protect 
the  loyalists  of  the  South  is  supreme,  and  they  must  take  all  needful  means  to 
provide  that  protection.  The  most  needful  is  the  gift  of  free  suffrage,  and  that 
must  be  guaranteed.  There  is  no  protection  you  can  extend  to  a  man  so 
effective  and  conclusive  as  the  power  to  protect  himself.  And  in  assuring 
protection  to  the  loyal  citizen  you  assure  permanency  to  the  Government. 
The  bestowal  of  suffrage  is  therefore  not  merely  the  discharge  of  a  personal 
obligation  toward  those  who  are  enfranchised,  but  it  is  the  most  far-sighted 
provision  against  social  disorder,  the  surest  guarantee  for  peace,  prosperity,  and 
public  justice." 

OntE  of  the  most  strenuous  questions  that  arose  in  the  wake  of  the  war 
was  the  payment  of  the  public  debt.  Many  were  the  opinions  and  'policies 
advanced  to  meet  the  great  contingency.  No  wonder  that  the  statesmen  of  the 
later  sixties    were    perplexed   and  troiibled  with    this    problem.     A  quarter  of   a 



century  nas  now  passed  since  the  issue  of  the  payment  or  non-payment  of  the 
great  debt  was  imminent.  To  the  present  hour,  however,  the  issue  has  not  been 
met  with  a  final  solution.  The  prodigious  debt  still  rests  upon  the  nation  and 
sucks  up  annually  a  large  fraction  of  the  profits  of  the  American  people.  It 
lies  in  the  bottom  of  all  our  waters,  like  Hugo's  monstrous  cuttle-fish,  danger- 
ous to  all  forms  of  life  that  come  within  reach  of  its  tentacles.  On  the  twenty- 
sixth  of  November,  1S67,  Blaine  addressed  the  House  of  Representatives  on  the 
subject  of   the 


Mr.  Chairman — Within  the  past  few  months,  some  erroneous  and  mis- 
chievous views  have  been  put  forward  in  regard  to  the  nature  of  the  public 
obligation    imposed    by    the    debt  of   the    United    States.     Without    stopping    to 

notice  the  lesser  lights  of  the  new  doctrine,  and  not- 
caring  to  analyze  the  various  form  of  repudiation 
suggested  from  irresponsible  sources  throughout  the 
country,  I  propose  to  review,  as  briefly  as  may  be, 
the  position  contemporaneously  assumed  by  two  able 
and  distinguished  gentlemen — the  one  from  the 
West,  the  other  from  the  East — the  one  the  late 
candidate  of  the  Democratic  party  for  the  vice- 
presidency  (Mr.  Pendleton,  of  Ohio) — the  other  a 
prominent  member  of  this  House  from  one  of  the 
strongest  Republican  districts  of  the  State  of 
Massachusetts   (General   Butler). 

The  position  of  these  gentlemen  I  understand 
to  be  simply  this  :   that  the  principal  of  the  United 
States    bonds,    known    as    the  five-twenties,   may  be 
fairly    and  legally  paid   in  paper   currency    by   the 
Government  after  the  expiration  of  five  years  from  the  date  of  issue. 

A  brief  review  of  the  origin  of  the  five-twenty  bonds  will  demonstrate,  I 
think,  that  this  position  is  in  contravention  of  the  honor  and  good  faith  of  the 
National  Government ;  that  it  is  hostile  to  the  spirit  and  the  letter  of  the  law  ; 
that  it  contemptuously  ignores  the  common  understanding  between  borrower  and 
lender  at  the  time  the  loan  was  negotiated  ;  and  that  finally,  even  if  such  mode 
of  payment  were  honorable  and  practicable,  it  would  prove  disastrous  to  the 
financial  interests  of  the  Government  and  the  general  prosperit\-  of  the  country. 
I  crave  the  attention  and  the  indulgence  of  the  House  while  I  recapitulate  the 
essential  facts  in  support  of  my  assertion. 

The  issue  of  the  five-twenty  bonds  was  originally  authorized  by  the  act  of 
February  25,  1862,  which  provided  for  the  large  amount  of  $500,000,000.  It  is 
this  series  which  was  successfully  disposed  of  by  Jay  Cooke  &  Co.  in  1863,  and 
of  which  a  great   portion  was  subsequently  purchased  by  foreign  capitalists.     It 


LIFE   AND   WORK   OF  JAMES   G.    BLAINE.  257 

will  be  borne  in  mind  that  up  to  that  time  in  all  the  loan  bills  passed  by  Congress 
not  one  word  had  ever  been  said  in  regard  to  coin  payment  either  of  bond  or 
coupon  ;  and  yet  it  will  be  equally  borne  in  mind  that  coin  payment,  both  of  the 
principal  and  interest  of  the  public  debt,  has  been  the  invariable  rule  from  the 
foundation  of  the  Government.  No  instance  to  the  contrary  can  be  found  in  our 
history.  In  the  pithy  language  of  Nathaniel  Macon,  "  Our  Government  was  a 
hard-money  Government,  founded  by  hard-money  men,  and  its  debts  were  hard- 
money  debts." 

It  will  be  still  further  borne  in  mind  that  when  the  bill  authorizing  the 
original  issue  of  five-twenties  was  under  discussion  in  Congress  no  man  of  any 
party,  either  in  the  Senate  or  the  House,  ever  intimated  that  those  bonds  were 
to  be  paid  in  anything  else  than  gold  or  silver.  The  issixe  of  legal-tender 
notes  of  contemporaneous  origin  was  regarded  as  a  temporary  expedient,  forced 
upon  us  by  the  cruel  necessities  and  demands  of  war,  and  it  was  universally 
conceded  that  the  specie  basis  was  to  be  resumed  long  before  the  bonds  should 
mature  for  payment.  And  in  order  that  the  public  creditor  might  have  the 
amplest  assurance  of  the  payment  of  both  principal  and  interest  in  coin,  it  was 
specially  enacted  that  all  duties  on  imports  should  be  paid  in  coin,  and  the 
amount  thus  raised  was  distinctly  pledged,  not  only  to  the  payment  of  the 
interest  in  coin,  but  to  the  formation  of  a  sinking  fund  for  the  ultimate  redemp- 
tion of  the  principal  in  coin.  This  provision  is  so  important  that  I  quote  it 
entire.  After  providing  that  the  duties  shall  be  paid  in  coin,  the  act  devotes 
the  amount  so  collected  to  the  following  specific  purposes  : 

"  First — To  the  payment  in  coin  of  the  interest  on  the  bonds  of  the 
United  States. 

"  Second — To  the  purchase  or  payment  of   one  per  cent  of   the  entire    debt 

of   the  United  States,   to  be  made  within  each  fiscal    year  after  the  first  day  of 

|  July,   1862,  which    is    to    be    set    apart    as  a  sinking  fund,  and    the  interest  of 

which  shall  be  in  like  manner  applied  to  the  purchase  or  payment  of  the  public 

debt,  as  the  Secretary  of  the  Treasury  shall  from  time  to  time  direct." 

Much  carping  and  criticism  have  been  expended  on  the  second  clause  of 
this  provision,  mainly  by  those  who  seem  desirous  of  wresting  and  distorting 
its  plain  and  obvious  meaning.  Brushing  aside  all  fine-spun  construction  and 
cunning  fallacy,  it  is  manifest  that  the  sinking  fund  herein  authorized  was 
primarily  to  be  formed  from  coin,  and  that  it  was  only  to  be  invested  and 
re-invested  in  securities  whose  interest  was  equally  pledged  in  coin  ;  that  this 
process  was  not  to  be  confined  to  any  specific  number  of  years,  but  was  limited 
only  by  the  amount  and  the  duration  of  the  debt  which  was  ultimately  to  be 
redeemed  by  the  sinking  fund  thus  constituted.  The  sinking  fund  was  thus  to 
receive  an  annual  increment  in  coin  amounting  to  the  one-hundredth  part  of 
the  entire  debt  of  the  Government;  and  this  increment  was  to  be  invested  onlv 
in  securities  which  would  yield  coin  interest  for  the  further  increment  of  the 
fund.  It  would  be  difficult  to  conceive  how  the  language  of  an  enactment 

258  LIFE   AND   WORK   OF  JAMES   G.    BLAINE. 

could  more  distinctly  recognize  and  provide  for  the  ultimate  coin  payment  of 
the  entire  bonded  debt  of  the  nation.  Instead  of  the  Government  having  the 
right  at  this  late  day  to  change  its  coin  obligation  into  one  of  paper,  it  seems 
to  me  that  the  public  creditors  could,  with  far  more  consistency,  allege  that  the 
Government  had  not  kept  faith  with  them  by  failing  to  provide  the  sinking  fund 
which  was  guaranteed  at  the  outset  as  one  of  the  special  securities  of 
the    loan. 

But  the  argument  does  not  rest  merely  on  the  after-construction  of  a  statute 
to  prove  that  the  principal  of  the  five-twenties  is  payable  in  coin.  The  decla- 
rations in  Congress,  when  the  measure  was  under  consideration,  were  numerous 
and  specific.  Indeed,  no  other  possible  mode  of  payment  was  even  hinted  at, 
and  Mr.  Stevens,  then  chairman  of  the  Ways  and  Means,  was  emphatic  and 
repeated  in  his  assertions  that  the  bonds  were  redeemable  in  coin.  He  stated 
this  fact  no  less  than  three  times  in  his  speech  of  February  6,  1862,  giving  it 
all  the  prominence  and  emphasis  that  iteration  and  reiteration  could  impart. 
He  spoke  of  the  redemption  in  gold  in  twenty  years  as  one  of  the  special 
inducements  for  capitalists  to  invest,  and  he  gave,  in  every  form  of  words,  the 
sanction  of  his  influential  position  and  great  name  to  the  maintenance  of  the 
coin  standard  in  the  payment  of  the  bonds. 

It  may  astonish  even  the  gentleman  from  Pennsylvania  himself  to  be 
reminded  that  within  less  than  three  years  from  the  date  of  these  declarations 
he  asserted  on  this  floor — referring  to  the  five-twenty  bonds — that  "  it  is  just 
as  clear  as  any  thing  is  clear  that  the  interest  is  payable  in  gold,  but  the 
principal  in  lawful  money."  He  made  this  startling  statement  in  answer  to  a 
question  addressed  to  him  by  my  honorable  friend  from  Ohio  (Mr.  Spalding), 
and  the  gentleman  from  Massachusetts  has  quoted  it  in  his  argument  on  this 
question  as  though  it  had  been  made  when  the  five-twenty  bill  was  originally 
introduced,  and  was  to  be  taken  as  the  authorized  opinion  of  the  Ways  and 
Means  Committee  at  that  time.  I  have  alread}'  shown  that  the  gentleman 
from  Pennsylvania  was  a  firm  advocate  of  coin  payment,  and  that  a  considerable 
period  had  elapsed  before  he  experienced  his  marvelous  change  of  opinion  on 
this  question.  But  it  is  due  to  the  gentleman  from  Pennsylvania  to  say  that, 
late  as  he  was  in  this  declaration,  he  was  in  advance  of  other  gentlemen  who 
have  since  figured  prominently  as  advocates  of  the  doctrine.  Should  this 
scheme  of  repudiation  ever  succeed,  it  is  but  just  to  give  the  gentleman  from 
Pennsylvania  the  honor  of  first  proposing  it.  He  announced  it  on  this  floor 
while  yet  the  gentleman  from  Massachusetts  was  doing  honorable  service  on 
the  tented  field,  and  while  Mr.  Pendleton  was  still  adhering  to  those  hard- 
money  theories  of  which  he  was  a  conspicuous  defender  during  his  service  in 
this  House. 

But  I  digress.  I  was  stating  that  while  the  original  five-twenty  bill  was 
pending  the  declaration  that  the  bonds  were  redeemable  in  coin  was  constantly 
repeated.     It   was  the    ground    assumed    by  every  member  of  the  Committee  of 



"Ways  and  Means,  so  far  as  the  record  shows,  and  it  was  likewise  the  ground 
taken  by  the  Finance  Committee  of  the  Senate,  Mr.  Fessenden  and  other 
members  being  on  record  in  many  ways  to  that  effect.  While  so  many  gentle- 
men in  both  branches  of  Congress  were  repeating  that  these  bonds  were  redeem- 
able in  coin,  it  is  a  significant  circumstance,  as  already  intimated,  that  no  one 
ventured  the  opposite  opinion.  The  universality  of  the  understanding  at  that 
time  is  that  which  renders  a  different  construction  now  so  reprehensible.  Mr. 
Pendleton  was  present  in  his  seat  during  the  whole  discussion  of  the  measure, 
and  he  was  an  active  and  frequent  participant  therein.  Then  was  his  time  to 
have  enunciated  his  scheme  of  greenback  payment  if  he  ever  intended  it  in 
good  faith.  As  a  gentleman  of  candor, 
however,  I  am  sure  he  will  confess  that 
he  never  dreamed  of  such  an  idea  till 
long  after  the  bonds  were  purchased 
by  the  people,  and  possibly  not  until 
some  prospect  of  party  advantage  lured 
him  to  the  adoption  of  a  theory  which  is 
equally  at  war  with  the  letter  of  the 
law  and  with  sound  principles  of  finance. 
After  the  bill  became  a  law,  Mr. 
Chase,  the  Secretary  of  the  Treasury, 
proceeded  to  place  the  loan   formally  on 

I  the    market,  and    following   the  uniform 

I  previous  practice  of  the  Government,  and 
especially    adopting    the    language    used  Jp 
by  Mr.  Stevens   and  other  gentlemen  in 

'  both  branches  of   Congress,  he  officially 

1  proclaimed  through    the    loan  agents  of 
the    Government    that     the     five-twenty 
bonds  were    "  a    six  per    cent    loan,  the 
interest  and  principal  payable    in  coini'1 
It  was    on    this    basis,  with    this    under- 
standing, with  this   public  proclamation,  that  the   people  were  asked  to  subscribe 
to    the  loan.     They   had    the    assurance  of   an    unbroken    practice    on    the    part 
of   the  Government,  rendered  still  more  significant  by  the  provision   for  a  sink- 
ing fund  in  coin  ;  they  had  the  general  assurance  of  both  branches  of  Congress, 

:  especially  expressed  through  the  appropriate  channels  of  the  chairman  of  Finance 
in  the  Senate  and  the  chairman  of  Ways  and  Means  in  the  House,  and  further 

;  and    finally  enforced   by  a  distinct  declaration  to  that  effect  by  the  public  adver- 

\  tisement  proposing  the  loan  to  the  people,  issued  by  the  authority  of  the  Secre- 

!  tary  of  the  Treasury.  If  anything  could  constitute  an  honorable  contract  between 
borrower  and  lender — between  Government  and  people — then  was  it  a  contract 
that  the  five-twenty  bonds  should  be  redeemed  iu  coin. 



I  have  been  thus  minute,  and  possibly  tedious,  in  regard  to  the  tacts 
attending  the  issue  of  the  first  series  of  five-twenties,  because,  in  effect,  that 
established  the  rule  for  all  subsequent  issues.  The  principle  laid  down  so 
clearly  in  the  proposal  for  the  first  loan  was  steadily  adhered  to  afterward.  It 
is  quite  true  that  the  chairman  of  Ways  and  Means  [Mr.  Stevens],  as  I  have 
already  said,  changed  his  ground  on  the  question,  but  he  failed  to  influence 
Congress,  notwithstanding  his  parade  of  terrible  figures  showing  the  utter 
impossibility  of  ever  paying  coin  interest,  to  say  nothing  of  coin  principal. 
The  gentleman  can  recall  his  statistics  with  amusement,  if  not  with  advantage, 
from  that  grave  of  unfulfilled  prophecies  to  which  he,  in  common  with  the  rest 
of  us,  have  sent  many  baseless  predictions. 

The  next  loan  bill  passed  by  Congress  was  that  of  March  3,  1863,  author- 
izing the  borrowing  of  $900,00x3,000.  This  is  commonly  known  as  the  ten-forty 
act,  and  it  contains  the  special  provision  that  both  principal  and  interest  shall 
be  payable  in  coin.  But  this  provision  was  never  inserted  by  way  of  discrimi- 
nation agaiust  the  five-twenties,  implying  that  the}'  were  to  be  paid  in  paper 
currency.  Its  origin  palpably  discredits  any  such  inference.  It  was  moved  as 
an  amendment  by  Mr.  Thomas,  of  Massachusetts,  and  it  was  moved  to  meet  and 
repel  the  first  covert  insinuation  that  any  bond  of  the  United  States  was  redeem- 
able in  anything  else  than  coin.  The  chairman  of  Ways  and  Means,  in  apparent 
forgetfulness  of  his  declaration  the  preceding  year,  had  for  the  first  time  inti- 
mated that  the  principal  of  United  States  bonds  was  payable  in  paper  money, 
and  the  amendment  of  Mr.  Thomas,  as  the  discussion  reported  in  the  Globe 
clearly  discloses,  was  intended  as  a  sharp  protest  against  this  heresy  of  the 
gentleman  from  Pennsylvania,  and  as  such  it  was  adopted  by  the  House  by  a 
majority  so  overwhelming  that  its  opponents  did  not  call  for  a  division.  During 
the  discussion,  Mr.  Horton,  of  Ohio,  a  distinguished  member  of  the  Ways  and 
Means,  and  a  gentleman  of  very  high  character  in  every  respect,  said : 

"  I  wish  to  state  here  that  the  Committee  of  Ways  and  Means,  in  framing 
this  bill,  never  dreamed  that  these  twenty-year  bonds  were  to  be  payable  in  any] 
thing  other  than  coin  until  the  gentleman  from  Pennsylvania  [Mr.  Stevens]  toldl 
it  yesterday  upon  the  floor  of  the  House." 

In  this  connection  I  desire  the  special  attention  of  the  House  to  one  fact 
of  conclusive  import,  and  it  is  this :  at  the  time  this  ten-forty  loan  bill  was 
passed,  March  3,  1S63,  only  $25,000,000  of  the  five-twenty  loan,  authorized  the 
year  before,  had  been  disposed  of.  It  was  in  the  succeeding  summer  and  autumn 
of  1863,  especially  after  the  triumph  of  the  Union  arms  at  Vicksburg  and  Gettys-I 
burg,  that  those  marvelous  sales  of  $500,000,000  were  effected  through  the 
Government  agency  of  Jay  Cooke  &  Co.  And  yet  the  gentleman  from  Massa- 
chusetts would  have  us  believe  that  the  people  subscribed  for  a  loan  of 
$500,000,000  that  was  payable  in  five  years  in  paper  currency,  when  another 
loan,  for  a  larger  amount,  to  run  forty  years,  expressly  payable  in  coin,  was 
already  authorized  and  about    to    be    put    on    the    market.       Such    a    conclusion 

LIFE   AND   WORK   OF  JAMES   G.    BLAINE.  261 

cannot  be  reconciled  even  with  the  common  sanity,  to  say  nothing  or  the  pro- 
verbial shrewdness,  of  those  who  invested  their  money  in  the  five-twenty  loan. 
Ever}'  one  can  see,  sir,  that  not  one  dollar  of  the  five-twenty  loan  could  have 
been  disposed  of  on  the  understanding  that  the  bonds  were  redeemable  in 
currency,  while  another  loan  for  a  longer  period,  possibly  at  the  same  rate  of 
interest,  for  the  bill  so  allowed,  and  absolutely  redeemable  in  coin,  was  already 
authorized,  and  immediately  to  be  offered  to  the  public. 

The  next  loan  bill  in  the  order  of  time  was  the  act  of  March  3,  1864, 
which  was  merely  supplementary  to  the  ten-forty  bill,  whose  history  I  have  just 
reviewed.  It  covered  the  amount  of  $200,000,000,  and,  like  the  bill  to  which 
it  formed  a  supplement,  it  provided  for  both  interest  and  principal  to  be  paid 
in  coin.  Under  this  bill  more  than  $175,000,000  were  negotiated,  partly  in  ten- 
forties  and  partly  in  five-twenties  ;  by  far  the  greater  part  in  the  former.  But 
as  some  five-twenties  were  negotiated  under  it,  the  gentleman  from  Massachu- 
setts, even  on  the  line  of  logic  which  he  has  sought  to  travel,  will  be  com- 
pelled to  acknowledge  that  they  were  payable  in  coin,  and  hence,  according  to 
his  theory,  some  of  the  five-twenties  are  redeemable  in  coin  and  some  in  paper — 
a  distinction  which  has  never  yet  been  proclaimed,  and  the  equity  of  which 
would  hardly  be  apparent  to  the  holders  of  the  same  description  cf  bonds — 
identical  in  phrase,  and  differing  only  in  the  subordinate  and  immaterial  cir- 
cumstance of  date. 

The  last  loan  bill  to  which  I  need  specially  refer  is  that  of  June  30,  1864, 

under  the  provisions  of   which    the    five-twenties    bearing  that  date  were    issued. 

The    seven-thirties,  authorized    by  the    same    act,  as  well  as  by  the    subsequent 

acts  of  January  2S   and    March  3,   1S65,  were    convertible    into    five-twenties  of 

the   same  tenor  and  description  with  those  whose  issue  was  directly  authorized; 

so  that   in  reviewing  the    history  of   the  loan  bill  of  June  30,   1864,  I  shall,   in 

effect,  close  the   narrative  of  congressional    proceedings  in  regard  to  five-twenty 

bonds.     The  history  of  that  bill  shall  be  brief.     It  was  discussed  in  its  various 

provisions  very  elaborately  in  both  branches  of  Congress.     As  reported  from  the 

'•  Ways  and  Means  Committee  it  was  worded    like  all  previous    bonds,  promising 

;  to  pay  so  many  dollars  to  the  holder,  without    specifying   that  the}'  were  to  be 

i  anything  else  than  coin  dollars,  in  which   United  States  bonds  had  always  been 

paid.     Toward    the    close  of   the  discussion  Mr.   Brooks,  of   New  York,  then,  as 

I  now,    a    member    of    this    House,    moved    to    insert    an    amendment    providing 

especially    that    the    bonds    should    be    " payable    in    coin."       Mr.    Brooks    was 

answered  by  Mr.   Hooper,  of  Massachusetts,  on  behalf  of  the  Ways  and  Means 

Committee,  as  follows : 

"The  bill  of  last  year,  the  $900,000,000  bill,  contained  these  words,  but  it 

:  was  not  deemed  necessary  or  considered    expedient  to  insert    them  in  this    bill. 

I  will    send  to  the    desk    and    ask    to    have  read,   as  a  part  of  my  reply  to  the 

gentleman  from  New  York,  a  letter  from  the  Secretary  of  the  Treasury  giving 

his  views  upon  this  point." 

262  LIFE   AND   WORK   OF  JAMES   G.    BLAINE. 

The  clerk  read  as  follows  from  Secretary  Chase's  letter  dated  May  iS,  1S64: 

"It  has  been  the  constant  usage  of  the  Department  to  redeem  all  coupon 
and  registered  bonds,  forming  part  of  the  funded  or  permanent  debt  of  the 
United  States,  in  coin,  and  this  usage  has  not  been  deviated  from  during  my 
administration  of  its  affairs. 

"The  five-twenty  sixes,  payable  twenty  years  from  date,  though  redeemable 
after  five  years,  are  considered  as  belonging  to  the  funded  or  permanent  debt, 
and  so  also  are  the  twenty  years  sixes,  into  which  the  three  years  seven-thirty 
notes  are  convertible.  These  bonds,  therefore,  according  to  the  usage  of  the 
Government,  are  payable  in  coin." 

Apparently  satisfied  with  this  statement,  Mr.  Brooks  withdrew  his  amend- 
ment, regarding  the  point  as  conclusively  settled,  I  suppose,  not  only  by  the 
uniform  practice  of  the  Government,  but  by  the  special  declaration  of  the 
Secretary  of  the  Treasury,  who  immediately  afterward  proceeded  on  the  basis 
of  that  letter  to  put  the  bonds  on  the  market.  Mr.  Hooper  stated  the  case  well 
when  he  said  it  was  "not  deemed  necessary  or  considered  expedient"  to  insert 
coin  payment  in  this  bill;  "not  necessary,"  for  the  practice  of  the  Government, 
and  the  assurances  of  the  Treasury  Department  in  its  advertisements  in  pro- 
posing for  loans,  conclusively  settled  the  point ;  and  not  "  considered  expedient," 
because  to  specially  insert  coin  payment  in  all  the  loan  bills  except  that  of 
February  25,  1862,  under  which  $500,000,00x3  of  five-twenties  had  been  sold,  might, 
in  the  end,  by  the  cxclusio  unzus,  give  some  shadow  of  ground  for  the  mis- 
chievous and  groundless  inference  which  is  now  sought  to  be  drawn. 

We  thus  find  that  the  voice  of  Congress  has  been  uniform  and  consistent 
in  support  of  the  principle  of  paying  the  bonded  debt  in  coin.  No  vote  in 
Congress,  even  implying  the  opposite  theory,  has  ever  been  given ;  even  the 
weighty  influence  and  conceded  ability  of  the  distinguished  gentleman  frornl 
Pennsylvania  failing  to  carry  with  him  any  support  whatever  when  he  made  his 
surprising  and  unprecedented  change  on  this  question.  But  the  public  creditors 
did  not  rely  solely  on  the  declarations  of  leading  men  in  Congress  in  regard  to 
coin  payment,  nor  did  they  rest  wholly  on  the  past  practice  and  the  good  faith 
of  the  Government.  They  had,  in  addition  to  both  these  strong  grounds  of 
confidence  and  assurance,  the  more  direct  and  explicit  guarantee  of  the  Treasury 
Department,  the  authorized  agent  of  the  Government,  speaking  ex  cathedra,  with 
the  knowledge  and  assent  of  Congress. 

I  have  already  quoted  Secretary  Chase's  significant  declarations  in  his  letters 
and  his  public  proposals  for  loans,  and  I  have  now  to  quote  one  of  his  equally 
significant  acts.  At  the  close  of  1862  the  twenty  year  loan  of  1842,  amounting 
to  nearly  three  million  dollars,  fell  due.  Nothing  was  said  in  that  loan  about 
coin  payment,  and  thus  a  grand  opportunity  was  afforded  to  test  the  theory  of 
paper  payment.  Circumstances  all  conspired  to  favor  such  a  policy  if  it  could) 
be  honorably  adopted.  Gold  was  at  a  high  premium,  and  the  Government  was 
passing    through    the    darkest    and  most  doubtful    hours  of  the  whole    struggle. 



Could  there  have  been  even  a  decent  pretext  to  pay  the  debt  in  paper  currency 
the  temptation  was  surely  great  enough  to  resort  to  it,  if  not  fully  to  justify  it. 
But  in  the  face  of  all  the  adverse  circumstances  ;  with  gold  very  high  and  daily 
rising;  with  expenses  enormous  and  daily  increasing;  with  resources  already 
embarrassed  and  daily  growing  more  so,  and  with  a  military  situation  rendered 
well-nigh  desperate  by  months  of  almost  unbroken  disaster,  Secretary  Chase  decided 
that  the  faith  of  the  Government  demanded  that  its  funded  debt,  falling  due  no 

matter  when  and  owned  by  no 
matter  whom,  must  be  paid  in 
coin.  And  it  was  paid  in  coin  ; 
and  no  voice  but  the  voice  of 
approval  was  raised  in  either 
branch  of  Congress.  The  course 
of  Secretary  Chase  was  not  only 
honorable  to  himself  and  the 
country,  but  it  was  in  the  high- 
est degree  wise  merely  from 
the  standpoint  of  worldly  wis- 
dom ;  for  it  created  so  profound 
a  confidence  in  the  good  faith 
of  our  Government  that  it  aided 
us  incalculably  in  the  negotia- 
tion of  all  our  great  loans  for 
the  war.  When  the  Govern- 
ment paid  its  debt  to  the  utter- 
most farthing  at  such  a  time 
capitalists  at  once  argued  that 
there  never  could  come  a  crisis 
when  any  evasion  of  public  obli- 
gation would  be  resorted  to.  It 
has  been  reserved  for  the  gen- 
tlemen from  Massachusetts,  and 
the  gentleman  from  Ohio,  and 
the  gentleman  from  Pennsylva- 
nia, to  propose  that  our  Gov- 
ernment should  adopt  a  policy 
in  the  sunshine  and  prosperity  of  peace  which  it  scorned  to  resort  to  in  the 
storms  and  adversities  of  war. 

The  course  of  Secretary  Chase  in  guaranteeing  coin  payment  on  all  bonds 
of  the  United  States  was  followed  by  his  successors,  Secretary  Fessenden  and 
Secretary  McCulloch.  The  words  of  Mr.  Fessenden  are  entitled  to  great  weight 
in  the  premises,  for  he  had  been  chairman  of  Finance  in  the  Senate  during 
the   passage  of  all    the  loan  bills,   had  elaborately  discussed  them  in  turn,  and 




had  as  largely  as  any  single  member  in  either  branch  of  Congress,  shaped  their 
provisions.  His  views  on  the  question  at  issue  may  be  briefly  presented  by  the 
following  extract  from  his  official  report  made  to  Congress  in  December,  1864: — 
"Though  forced  to  resort  to  the  issue  of  paper  for  the  time,  the  idea  of  a 
specie  basis  was  not  lost  sight  of,  as  the  payment  of  interest  on  long  loans  in 
coin  was  amply  secured.  And  though  in  several  of  the  acts  authorizing  the  issue 
of  bonds  at  long  periods  payment  of  the  principal    at    maturity  in  coin    is    not 

specifically  provided,  the  omission,  it 
is  believed,  was  accidental,  as  there 
could  have  been  no  intention  to  make 
a  distinction  be  twee  )i  the  different 
classes  of  securities  in  this  regard" 
It  will  be  noted  that  this  declar- 
ation of  Mr.  Fessenden,  made  in  his 
official  report,  was  at  the  very  time 
of  the  negotiation  of  the  five-twenties 
of  1864,  and  preceded  the  large  sale 
of  seven-thirties  which  were  convert- 
ible into  five-twenties.  So  that  in 
effect  it  was  an  additional  guarantee 
of  coin  payment  on  the  part  of  the 
Government,  operating  at  once  as 
the  condition  and  the  inducement 
of  the  loan. 

It  is  well  known  that  Secretary 
McCulloch  entertains  precisel}'  the 
same  opinions  that  were  so  freely 
expressed  by  Messrs.  Chase  and  Fes- 
senden, and  he  placed  himself  on 
record  on  the  question  by  his  letter 
to  L.  P.  Morton  &  Co.,  of  New  York, 
wherein  he  says,   under  date  of  November  15,   1866: 

"  I  regard,  as  did  also  my  predecessors,  all  bonds  of  the  United  States  as 
payable  in  coin.  The  bonds  which  have  matured  since  the  suspension  of  specie 
payments  have  been  so  paid,  and  I  have  no  doubt  that  the  same  will  be  true 
with  all  others.  This  being,  as  I  understand  it  to  be,  the  established  policy  of  the 
Government,  the  five-twenty  bonds  of  1862  will  either  be  called  in  at  the 
expiration  of  five  years  from  their  date  and  paid  in  coin,  or  be  permitted  to  run 
until  the  Government  is  prepared  to  pa}'  them  in  coin." 

In  view  of  the  uniform  declarations  of  the  Treasury  Department,  made  through 
official  reports,  through  public  proposals  for  loans,  and  through  personal  letters 
of  assurance,  all  guaranteeing  coin  payment  of  the  five-twenty  bonds,  I  submit 
that  the  Government  is  bound    thereto    even    if    there  were  no  other  obligation 


LIFE   AND   WORK   OF  JAMES   G.    BLAINE.  265 

expressed  or  implied.  These  official  and  unofficial  promulgations  from  the  Treasury 
Department  were  made  with  the  full  knowledge  of  Congress,  and  without  the 
slightest  expression  of  dissent  on  the  part  of  that  body.  Had  Congress  not  believed 
or  intended  that  the  five-twenty  bonds  were  to  be  paid  in  coin,  the  secretary 
should  not  have  been  allowed  with  its  evident  assent  so  to  advertise ;  and 
for, Congress,  after  this  significant  permission  and  warrant,  to  step  forward  at 
this  late  day  and  declare  itself  not  bound  by  the  conditions  published  by  the 
secretary  is  simply  to  place  the  United  States  Government  in  the  position  of  a 
man  playing  a  "  confidence  game,"  in  which  the  Treasury  Department  and 
Congress  are  the  confederate  knaves,  £>nd  the  whole  mass  of  bondholders  the 
unfortunate  victims. 

But  now,  Mr.  Chairman,  suppose,  for  the  sake  of  argument,  we  admit  that 
the  Government  may  fairly  and  legally  pay  the  five-twenty  bonds  in  paper 
currency,  what  then  ?  I  ask  the  gentleman  from  Massachusetts  to  tell  us,  what 
then  ?  It  is  easy,  I  know,  to  issue  as  many  greenbacks  as  will  pay  the 
maturing  bonds,  regardless  of  the  effect  upon  the  inflation  of  prices  and  the 
general  derangement  of  business.  Five  hundred  millions  of  the  five-twenties  are 
now  payable,  and,  according  to  the  mode  suggested,  all  we  have  to  do  is  to  set 
the  printing  presses  in  motion,  and  "so  long  as  rags  and  lampblack  holdout" 
we  need  have  no  embarrassment  about  paying  our  national  debt.  But  the  ugly 
question  recurs  — What  are  you  going  to  do  with  the  greenbacks  thus  put  afloat  ? 
Five  hundred  millions  this  year,  and  eleven  hundred  millions  more  on  this 
theory  of  payment  by  the  year  1872,  so  that  within  the  period  of  four  or  five 
years  we  would  have  added  to  our  paper  money  the  trifling  inflation  of 

Payment  of  the  five-twenty  bonds  in  paper  currency  involves,  therefore,  a 
limitless  issue  of  greenbacks,  with  attendant  evils  of  great  magnitude.  The 
worst  evil  of  the  whole  is  the  delusion  which  calls  this  a  payment  at  all.  It 
is  no  payment  in  any  proper  sense,  for  it  neither  gives  the  creditor  what  he  is 
entitled  to,  nor  does  it  release  the  debtor  from  subsequent  responsibility.  You 
may  get  rid  of  the  five-twenty  by  issuing  the  greenback,  but  how  will  you  get 
rid  of  the  greenback  except  by  paying  coin  ?  The  only  escape  from  ultimate 
payment  of  coin  is  to  declare  that  as  a  nation  we  permanently  and  finally 
renounce  all  idea  of  ever  attaining  a  specie  standard ;  that  we  launch  ourselves 
upon  an  ocean  of  paper  money,  without  shore  or  sounding,  with  no  rudder  to 
guide  us  and  no  compass  to  steer  by.  This  is  precisely  what  is  involved  if  we 
adopt  this  mischievous  suggestion  of  "  a  new  wa)'  to  pay  old  debts."  Our  fate  in 
attempting  such  a  course  may  be  easily  read  in  the  history  of  similar  follies  both 
in  Europe  and  in  our  own  country.  Prostration  of  credit,  financial  disaster,  wide- 
spread distress  among  all  classes  of  the  community,  would  form  the  closing  scenes 
in  our  career  of  gratuitous  folly  and  national  dishonor.  From  such  an  abyss  of 
sorrow  and  humiliation  it  would  be  a  painful  and  toilsome  effort  to  regain  as 
sound  a  position  in  our  finances  as  we    are  asked  voluntarily  to  abandon  to-day. 

260  LIFE   AND   WORK   OF  JAMES   G.    BLAINE. 

Still  another  question  that  sprang  with  infinite  contention  into  the  debates 
of  the  epoch  was  that  of  the  taxation  of  the  bonds  of  the  United  States.  On 
this  subject  in  the  House  of  Representatives,  on  the  twenty-third  of  June,  1868 
Mr.  Blaine  delivered  a  speech  which  may  be  accepted  as  at  least  a  summary  of 
his  views  on  the  important  topic  under  consideration.  The  House  was  in  Com- 
mittee of  the  Whole,  and  the  speaker  had  prepared  his  views  with  unusual 
care.     He  spoke  as  follows  : 


Mr.  Chairman — The  fact  that  the  bonds  of  the  United  States  are  exempt 
from  State  and  municipal  taxation  has  created  discontent  among  the  people, — 
the  belief  prevailing  quite  generally  that  if  this  exemption  could  be  removed 
the  local  burdens  of  the  tax-payer  would  be  immediately  and  essentially 
lightened.  Many  persons  assert  this  belief  from  a  spirit  of  mischievous  dema- 
gogism,  and  many  do  so  from  sincere  conviction.  To  the  latter  class  I  beg  to 
submit  some  facts  and  suggestions  which  may  modify  if  not  entirely  change 
their  conclusions. 

The  total  coin-bearing  debt  of  the  United  States,  the  conversion  of  seven- 
thirties  being  now  practically  completed,  amounts  to  a  little  more  than 
twenty-one  hundred  million  dollars ;  of  this  large  amount,  some  two  hundred 
million  dollars  draw  but  five  per  cent  interest,  a  rate  not  sufficiently  high  in 
the  present  condition  of  the  money  market  to  provoke  hostility  or  suggest 
the  especial  necessity  of  taxation.  Indeed,  it  may  be  safely  said  that  there 
never  has  been  any  popular  dissatisfaction  with  regard  to  the  non-taxation  of 
the  five  per  cents,  it  being  agreed  by  common  consent  that  such  a  rate  of 
interest  was  not  unreasonable   on  a  loan  negotiated  at  such  a  time. 

The  agitation  may,  therefore,  be  regarded  as  substantially  confined  to  the 
six  per  cent  coin-bearing  bonds,  which  amount  to  nineteen  hundred  million 
dollars.  Many  people  honestly,  but  thoughtlessly,  believe  that  if  this  class  of 
bonds  could  be  taxed  by  local  authority  the  whole  volume  represented  by  them 
would  at  once  be  added  to  the  lists  of  the  assessor.  It  is  my  purpose  to  show 
that  this  conclusion  is  totally  unfounded,  and  that  if  the  right  of  local  taxation 
existed  in  its  amplest  extent,  but  a  minor  fraction  of  the  bonds  could  by  any 
possibility  be   subjected  to  larger  local  tax  than  they  already  pay. 

The  en,tire  amount  of  these  bonds,  as  I  have  stated,  is  nineteen  hundred 
million  dollars ;  and  of  this  total,  by  the  best  and  most  careful  estimates 
attainable,  at  least  six  hundred  and  fifty  millions  are  now  held  in  Europe. 
This  amount  could  not,  therefore,  be  reached  by  any  system  of  local  taxation, 
however  searching.  Deducting  the  amount  thus  held  abroad,  we  find  the  J 
amount  held  at  home  is  reduced  to  twelve  hundred  and  fifty  million  dollars. 

But  of   this    twelve   hundred  and  fifty  millions,  more  than  one-third,   or  to 
speak  with  accuracy,  about  four  hundred   and    twentjr-five  millions,  are  held  byj 
the  national  banks,  and  no  form  of  property  in  the  United  States  pays  so  large 

LIFE   AND   WORK   OF  JAMES   G.   BLAINE.  267 

a  tax,  both  local  and  general,  as  these  banks.  The  stock,  the  depositories  and 
the  deposits  which  these  four  hundred  and  twenty-five  millions  of  bonds 
represent  pay  full  local  tax  at  the  highest  rate,  besides  a  national  tax  averag- 
ing about  two  and  a  half  per  cent.  Were  the  power  of  local  taxation  made 
specific  on  the  bonds  held  by  the  national  banks,  they  could  not  yield  a  dollar 
more  than  is  now  realized.  It  thus  follows  that  the  twelve  hundred  and  fifty 
millions  of  bonds  in  this  country,  presumptively  escaping  local  taxation,  must 
be  reduced  by  the  amount  represented  by  the  banks,  and  hence  we  find  the 
aggregate  falls  to  eight  hundred  and  twenty-five  millions. 

The  reduction,  however,  goes  still  farther,  for  it  must  be  remembered  that 
the  savings  banks  have  invested  their  deposits  in  these  bonds  to  the  amount  of 
one  hundred  and  seventy-five  millions.  In  some  States  by  local  law  the 
deposits  of  savings  banks  are  exempt  from  taxation,  as  an  incentive  to  thrift 
and  economy.  In  other  States,  \\mere  these  deposits  are  taxed,  as  in  Connecticut, 
it  has  been  held  by  judicial  decision  that  the  fact  of  their  investment  in  United 
States  bonds  does  not  exempt  them  fiom  taxation.  Hence  these  one  hundred 
and  seventy-five  millions,  thus  invested  in  savings  bank  deposits,  are  either  locally 
taxable,  or,  if  exempt,  it  is  by  State  law  and  not  by  virtue  of  the  general 
exemption  of  the  bonds.  It  thus  follows  that  the  eight  hundred  and  twenty- 
five  millions  must  be  further  reduced  by  this  sum  of  one  hundred  and  seventj-- 
five  millions,  leaving  but  six  hundred  and  fifty  millions  not  already  included 
within  the  scope  of  local  taxation. 

But  there  is  a  still  further  reduction  of  thirty  millions  of  bonds  held  by  the 
life  insurance  companies  on  precisely  the  same  terms  as  the  deposits  of  savings 
banks — that  is,  either  taxed  locally,  or,  if  exempt,  deriving  the  exemption  from 
the  local  law.  The  surplus  earnings  and  reserves  of  these  life  insurance  com- 
panies, invested  to  the  extent  of  thirty  millions  in  United  States  bonds,  are  as 
open  to  taxation  when  invested  in  that  form  as  though  they  were  held  in  State 
or  railroad  securities.  Deducting  these  thirty  millions,  we  find  the  untaxed 
bonds  reduced  to  six  hundred  and  twenty  millions. 

There  is  still  another  large  reduction  ;  for  the  fire  and  marine  insurance 
companies,  the  annuity  and  trust  companies,  and  other  corporations  which 
cannot  readily  be  classed,  hold  in  the  aggregate  of  over  one  hundred  and  twenty- 
five  millions  of  bonds  ;  and  these  are  held  on  precisely  the  same  basis  as  those 
held  by  the  savings  bank  and  the  life  insurance  companies.  These  numerous 
corporations  have  their  capital  stock,  their  reserves  and  their  surplus  earnings 
invested  in  Government  bonds  to  the  extent  named,  and  they  are  in  this  form  as 
open  to  taxation,  and  are  actually  taxed  as  much,  as  though  they  were  invested 
in  any  other  form  of  security.  Making  the  deduction  of  this  one  hundred  and 
twenty-five  millions,  we  find  remaining  but  four  hundred  and  ninety-five  millions 
of  the  six  per  cent  gold-bearing  bonds  that  are  not  already  practically  sub- 
jected to  local  taxation.  Allowing  for  the  possibility  that  one  hundred  millions 
of  the    five  per  cents  are  held  instead  of  six  per  cents  in  all   the    channels   of 

208  LIFE   AND   WORK   OF  JAMES   G.    BLAINE. 

investment  I  have  named,  and  it  follows  that  at  the  outside  figure  there  are 
to-day  in  the  whole  country  less  than  six  hundrec1  millions  of  Government 
sixes,  not  fully  subjected  to  the  power  of  local  taxation.  And  these  six  hun- 
dred millions  are  rapidly  growing  less  as  the  various  corporate  institutions  I 
have  named  continue  to  invest  their  funds  in  the  bonds.  These  institutions 
desire  a  security  that  is  of  steady  value,  not  liable  to  fluctuation,  and  at  all 
times  convertible  into  money  ;  and  hence  they  seek  Government  bonds  in  pref- 
erence to  any  other  form  of  investment.  The  high  premium  on  the  bonds 
induces  individuals  to  part  with  them,  and  hence  they  are  readily  transferred  to 
corporate  ownership,  where  they  become  in  effect  at  once  subject  to  local  taxa- 
tion, and  are  no  longer  obnoxious  to  the  charge  of  evading  or  escaping  their 
just  share  of  municipal  burden.  In  the  hands  of  individuals  the  bonds  may  be 
concealed,  but  in  the  possession  of  corporations  concealment  is  necessarily 

If  these  statistical  statements  needed  any  verification  it  would  be  supplied 
b}'  an  examination  of  the  income  returns  recently  made  under  oath  and  pub- 
lished in  all  the  large  cities  of  the  country,  disclosing  the  fact  that  the  amount 
of  bonds  held  by  the  wealthy  men  of  the  country  has  been  continually  grow- 
ing less,  just  as  they  have  been  absorbed  by  foreign  purchase  and  by  corporate 
investment.  The  correctness  of  these  income  returns  in  reference  to  the  invest- 
ment in  bonds  will  be  accepted  even  by  the  incredulous  and  the  uncharitable, 
when  it  is  remembered  that  the  interest  of  those  making  them  was  to  exag- 
gerate rather  than  depreciate  the  respective  amounts  of  bonds  held  by  them. 
Instead,  then,  of  nineteen  hundred  millions  of  these  bonds  running  free  of  taxation, 
it  is  clear  that  less  than  six  hundred  millions  are  open  to  that  charge — less  than 
one-third  of  the  whole  amount.  The  remainder,  largely  more  than  two-thirds 
of  the  whole,  are  either  held  abroad,  where  no  local  taxation  can  reach  them, 
or  they  are  held  at  home  in  such  form  as  subjects   them  to  local  taxation. 

Let  us  suppose  that  we  were  now  in  possession  of  the  full  power  to  tax 
by  local  authority  these  six  hundred  millions  of  bonds  presumptively  owned 
by  individuals!  Would  we  realize  anything  from  it?  On  its  face  the  prospect 
might  be  fair  and  inviting,  but  in  practice  it  would  assuredly  prove  delusive 
and  deceptive.  The  trouble  would  be  that  the  holders  of  the  bonds  could  not 
be  found.  No  form  of  property  is  so  easily  concealed,  none  so  readily  trans- 
ferred back  and  forth,  none  so  difficult  to  trace  to  actual  ownership.  We  have 
hundreds  of  millions  of  State  bonds,  city  bonds,  and  railroad  securities  in  this 
country,  and  yet  every  one  knows  that  it  is  only  an  infinitesimal  proportion  of 
this  vast  investment  that  is  ever  represented  on  the  books  of  assessors  and  tax 
collectors.  As  a  pertinent  illustration,  I  might  cite  the  case  of  the  bonds  of 
my  own  State,  of  which  there  are  over  five  millions  in  existence  to-day,  largely 
held  as  a  favorite  investment  by  the  citizens  of  Maine.  Of  this  whole  sum  I 
am  safe  in  saying  that  scarcely  a  dollar  is  found  on  the  lists  of  any  assessor 
in  the  State. 

LIFE   AND    WORK   OF  JAMES   G.    BLAINE.  269 

The  facility  for  concealing  ownership  in  national  bonds  is  far  greater  than 
in  any  other  form  of  security,  and  the  proportion  in  the  hands  of  individuals 
that  would  escape  the  assessment  of  local  taxes  may  be  inferred  with  reasonable 
certainty  from  the  analogies  I  have  suggested,  which  are  familiar  to  all  who 
have  given  the  least  attention  to  the  subject.  Indeed,  I  venture  to  assert  with 
confidence  that  if  the  power  of  local  taxation  of  these  bonds  were  fully  accorded 
to-day,  the  tax-lists  of  our  cities  and  towns  would  not  be  increased  on  an  average 
one  per  cent.  Many  of  those  who  to-day  may  be  ambitious  to  parade  their  bonds 
when  protected  by  what  is  deemed  an  offensive  exemption,  would  suddenly  have 
no  bonds  when  the  power  of  taxation  applied  to  them.  Indeed,  the  utter  failure 
to  realize  anything  from  this  source,  if  the  power  to  test  it  were  granted,  would 
in  the  end  create  more  dissatisfaction  than  that  exemption,  which,  in  theory,  is 
offensive,  but  in  practice  is  absolutely  of  no  consequence  whatever. 

But  it  may  be  asked,  "  Why  are  not  the  bonds  taxed  by  national  authority  ?" 
Granted,  it  will  be  urged,  that  the  power  of  local  taxation  would  be  nugatory 
and  valueless,  "  that  affords  all  the  stronger  reason  for  taxing  the  bonds  by 
direct  congressional  enactment."  In  answer  to  this  I  have  only  to  say  that  a 
tax  levied  directly  upon  the  coupon  is  simply  an  abatement  of  interest,  and  that 
result  can  be  reached  in  a  better  and  more  satisfactory  and  more  honorable  way. 
The  determination  manifested  by  this  Congress  and  by  the  great  Republican 
convention  at  Chicago  to  maintain  the  national  faith  has  already  worked  a  large 
appreciation  in  the  value  of  the  bonds,  and  with  the  strengthening  of  our  credit, 
which  results  from  an  honest  policy,  we  shall  speedily  be  able  to  fund  our  debt 
on  a  lower  scale  of  interest,  running  down  to  five,  four  and  a  half,  and  ultimately 
to  four  per  cent  per  annum.  Should  we  proceed,  however,  in  violation  of  good 
faith  and  of  the  uniform  practice  of  civilized  nations,  to  hold  back  part  of  the 
stipulated  interest  instead  of  effecting  an  honorable  exchange  of  bonds  to 
the  mutual  advantage  of  the  Government  and  the  public  creditor,  we  should 
only  punish  ourselves,  produce  calamitous  results  in  the  business  world,  and 
permanentlv  injure  our  national  fame. 

To  withhold  one  per  cent  of  the  interest  under  the  plea  of  a  national  tax 
this  year  might  be  followed  by  withholding  two  per  cent  next  year,  and  three 
per  cent  the  year  ensuing.  To  enter  upon  such  a  policy  would  produce  alarm 
at  home  and  distrust  abroad,  for  every  man  holding  a  bond  would  be  forced  to 
count  his  rate  of  interest  not  on  what  was  stipulated  in  the  contract,  but  on  what 
might  be  the  will  and  caprice  of  Congress  in  its  annual  withholding  of  a  portion 
of  the  interest  under  the  pretence  of  a  tax.  Under  such  a  policy  our  bonds 
would  be  returned  upon  us  from  Europe  with  panic-like  rapidity,  and  the  drain 
upon  our  specie  resources  would  produce  an  immediate  and  disastrous  crisis  in 
monetary  circles.  If  even  one-half  of  our  bonds  held  in  Europe  were  suddenly 
sent  home  it  would  drain  us  of  two  hundred  and  fifty  millions  of  specie,  and  the 
financial  distress  throughout  the  land  would  be  beyond  the  power  of  calculation 
or  imagination.     And  yet  that  is  the  precise  result  involved  if  we  should  follow 



the  policy  advocated  by  those  who  urge  us  to  tax  the  coupon  and  withhold  oue 
or  two  per  cent  of  the  interest.  Let  us  reject  such  counsels,  and  adhere  to  the 
stead}',  straightforward  course  dictated  alike  by  good  policy  and  good  faith. 
Let  us  never  forget  that  in  the  language  of  the  Chicago  platform  "  the  best  policy 
to  diminish  our  burden  of  debt  is  to  so  improve  our  credit  that  capitalists  will  seek 
to  loan  us  money  at  lower  rates  of  interest  than  we  now  pay,  and  must  continue 
to  pay,  so  long  as  repudiation,  either  partial  or  total,  open  or  covert,  is  threatened 
or  suspected." 

We  thus  conclude  our  summary  and  citations  from  the  speeches  of  James 
G.  Blaine  in  the  House  of  Representatives.  In  the  meantime,  his  own  career 
had  been  advancing  from  stage  to  stage.  Already  he  had  been  before  the 
National  Convention  of  the  Republican  party,  held  in  Cincinnati,  in  June,  of 
1S76,  and  had  been  within  a  few  votes  of  the  nomination.  With  the  changes 
of  political  life  Senator  Morrill,  of  Maine,  had  been  transferred  to  a  place  in 
the  Cabinet,  and  Mr.  Blaine,  himself,  was  appointed  to  take  the  vacant  seat  in 
the  Senate.  This  he  did,  leaving  behind  him  the  stormy  arena  of  the  House, 
to  take  up  the  more  judicial,  but  less  dramatic,  discussions  and  business  of 
the  Senatorial  body.  In  that  relation  we  shall  see  him  for  a  brief  period.  In 
the  following  chapter  we  shall  pursue  the  same  method  as  in  this  in  presenting 
the  products  of  his  genius  in  the  debates  of  the  Senate  of  the  United  States. 



AMES  G.  BLAINE  at  length  reached  the  Senate.  His  repu- 
tation is  now  national.  Already  since  1876  his  fame  has 
been  sounded  through  the  country.  His  appearance  in  the 
senatorial  body  was  not  an  accident,  but  the  result  of  growth 
and  development.  This  evolution  is  illustrated  in  his  oratory 
— his  argument.  There  was  much  in  the  House  of  Repre- 
sentatives that  was  well  suited  to  Mr.  Blaine's  genius.  The 
House  is  a  stormy  arena  and  his  spirit  was  stormy  also. 
In  his  speech  he  always  had  much  of  the  extemporaneous 
manner  and  matter.  He  was  especially  quick  to  respond  to 
the  occasion.  His  faculties  flamed  up  like  fire  when  his 
/IHo'n n  n  fifff^S\  opinions  were  crossed  or  his  feelings  ruffled.  He  was  essen- 
y;  So^^r/  tially  an  extemporaneous  debater.  His  power  of  repartee 
was  immense.  Much  of  his  most  brilliant  work  was  done 
under  the  spur  of  the  moment.  While  he  was  a  man  given 
from  his  youth  to  careful  preparation  he  was  also  from  his 
youth  capable  of  thinking  on  his  feet. 

All  these  qualities  stood  him  well  in  hand  in  the  House. 
In  the  Senate  the}-  will  be  less  available.  The  Senate  of 
the  United  States  is  a  truly  deliberative  body.  The  American 
people  may  be  congratulated  on  the  dignity  and  reserve 
which  generally  mark  the  proceedings  of  our  Upper  House.  It  may  be  doubted 
whether  the  temper  and  talents  of  Mr.  Blaine  were  happily  suited  to  the  serious 
and  stern  discussion  of  the  Senatorial  Chamber.  Nevertheless,  his  faculties  were 
now  mature,  and  there  was  less  storm  in  his  spirit  and  manner  than  there  had 
been  in  the  early  and  middle  days  of  his  career.  We  shall,  in  the  present 
chapter,  illustrate  the  nature  of  his  senatorial  work  with  copious  extracts  from 
his  speeches  after  his  transference  from  the  House.  Mr.  Blaine  was  at  this 
time  forty-seven  years  of  age.  He  was,  bating  a  single  circumstance,  in  the 
hevday  of  his  power  and  fame.  That  circumstance  related  to  the  injury 
which  was  manifestly  done  to  his  brain  and  nervous  system  by  the  sunstroke 
which  came  upon  him  just  before  the  National  Convention  of  1876.  Mr.  Blaine 
was  never  himself  in  full  force  after  that  event.  Probably  no  one  who  in  mid-lite 
has  been  struck  down  with  such  prostration  ever  completely  and  fully  recovers. 
Blaine  did  recover,  but  there  was  doubtless  always  after  that  a  check  and  rein 
upon  his  audacity.  If  we  mistake  not,  he  himself  imposed  upon  himself  the 
necessary  restraint. 


272  LIFE   AND   WORK   OF  JAMES   G.   BLAINE. 

We  shall  not  here  philosophize  but,  proceed  directly  to  the  consideration  of 
his  senatorial  oratory.  On  the  seventh  of  February,  1878,  he  delivered  in  the 
Senate  a  speech  on  the  remonetizatiou  of  silver.  That  question  was  then  in 
full  flush  before  the  American  public.  Silver  had  been  adroitly  remonetized 
four  years  before.  The  world  knows  the  circumstances  of  the  great  contention. 
In  the  retrospect  we  may  note  with  interest  the  movements  of  Mr.  Blaine's 
mind  in  discussing  the  silver  problem.      On  the  occasion  referred  to,  he  said  : — 

Mr.  President — The  discussion  on  the  question  of  remouetizing  silver  has 
been  prolonged  and  exhaustive.  I  ma}'  not  expect  to  add  much  to  its  value, 
but  I  promise  not  to  add  much  to  its  length.  I  shall  endeavor  to  consider 
facts  rather  than  theories,  to  state  conclusions  rather  than  arguments. 

I  believe  gold  and  silver  coin  to  be  the  money  of  the  Constitution — indeed, 
the  money  of  the  American  people  anterior  to  the  Constitution,  money  which  the 
organic  law  of  the  Republic  recognized  as  independent  of  its  own  existence. 
No  power  was  conferred  on  Congress  to  declare  that  either  metal  should  not  be 
money.  Congress  has  therefore,  in  my  judgment,  no  more  power  to  demonetize 
silver  than  to  demonetize  gold ;  no  more  power  to  demonetize  either  than  to 
demonetize  both.  In  this  statement  I  am  but  repeating  the  weight}7  dictum  of 
the  first  of  constitutional  lawyers.  "I  am  certainly  of  opinion,"  said  Mr.  Webster, 
"  that  gold  and  silver,  at  rates  fixed  by  Congress,  constitute  the  legal  standard 
of  value  in  this  country,  and  that  neither  Congress  nor  any  State  has  authority 
to  establish  any  other  standard  or  to  displace  this  standard."  Few  persons  can 
be  found,  I  apprehend,  who  will  maintain  that  Congress  possesses  the  power 
to  demonetize  both  gold  and  silver,  or  that  Congress  could  be  justified  in  pro- 
hibiting the  coinage  of  both ;  and  yet  in  logic  and  legal  construction  it  would 
be  difficult  to  show  where  and  why  the  power  of  Congress  over  silver  is  greater 
than  over  gold — greater  over  either  than  over  both.  If,  therefore,  silver  has 
been  demonetized,  I  am  in  favor  of  remonetizing  it.  If  its  coinage  has  been 
prohibited,  I  am  in  favor  of  ordering  it  to  be  resumed.  If  it  has  been  restricted, 
I  am  in  favor  of  ordering  it  to  be  enlarged. 

What  power,  then,  has  Congress  over  gold  and  silver  ?  It  has  the  exclusive 
power  to  coin  them  ;  the  exclusive  power  to  regulate  their  value — very  great, 
very  wise,  very  necessary  powers,  for  the  discreet  exercise  of  which  a  critical 
occasion  has  now  arisen.  However  men  may  differ  about  causes  and  processes, 
all  will,  admit  that  within  a  few  years  a  great  disturbance  has  taken  place  in 
the  relative  values  of  gold  and  silver,  and  that  silver  is  worth  less  or  gold  is 
worth  more  in  the  money  markets  of  the  world  in  1S78  than  in  1873,  when 
the  further  coinage  of  silver  dollars  was  prohibited  in  this  countrv.  To  remonetize 
it  now,  as  though  essential  conditions  had  not  changed,  is  willfully  and  blindly 
to  deceive  ourselves.  If  our  demonetization  were  the  only  cause  for  the  decline 
in  the  value  of  silver,  then  remonetizatiou  would  be  its  proper  and  effectual 
cure.  But  other  causes,  beyond  our  control,  have  been  far  more  potentially 
operative  than  the  simple  fact  that  Congress  prohibited  its  further  coinage.     As 

LIFE   AND   WORK   OF  JAMES   G.    BLAINE.  273 

legislators  we  are  bound  to  take  cognizance  of  these  causes.  The  demonetization 
of  silver  in  the  German  Empire  and  the  consequent  partial,  or  well-nigh  complete, 
suspension  of  coinage  in  the  governments  of  the  Latin  Union,  have  been  the 
leading  causes  for  the  rapid  decline  in  the  value  of  silver.  I  do  not  think  the 
over-supply  of  silver  has  had,  in  comparison  with  these  other  causes,  an  appre- 
ciable influence  in  the  decline  of  its  value,  because  its  over-supply  with  respect 
to  gold  in  these  later  years  has  not  been  so  great  as  was  the  over-supply  of 
gold  with  respect  to  silver  for  many  years  after  the  mines  of  California  and 
Australia  were  opened ;  and  the  over-supply  of  gold  from  those  rich  sources  did 
not  affect  the  relative  positions  and  uses  of  the  two  metals  in  any  European 

I  believe  then,  if  Germany  were  to  remonetize  silver  and  the  kingdoms  and 
states  of  the  Latin  Union  were  to  re-open  their  mints,  silver  would  at  once 
resume  its  former  relation  with  gold.  The  European  countries  when  driven  to 
full  remonetization,  as  I  believe  they  will  be  in  the  end,  must  of  necessity  adopt 
their  old  ratio  of  fifteen  and  a  half  of  silver  to  one  of  gold,  and  we  shall  then 
be  compelled  to  adopt  the  same  instead  of  our  former  ratio  of  sixteen  to  one. 
If  we  fail  to  do  this  we  shall,  as  before,  lose  our  silver,  which,  like  all  things 
else,  seeks  the  highest  market ;  and  if  fifteen  and  a  half  pounds  of  silver  will 
buy  as  much  gold  in  Europe  as  sixteen  pounds  will  buy  in  America,  the  silver, 
of  course,  will  go  to  Europe.  But  our  line  of  policy  in  a  joint  movement  with 
other  nations  to  remonetize  is  simple  and  direct.  The  difficult  problem  is  what 
we  shall  do  when  we  aim  to  re-establish  silver  without  the  co-operation  of 
European  powers,  and  really  as  an  advance  movement  to  coerce  those  powers 
into  the  same  policy.  Evidently  the  first  dictate  of  prudence  is  to  coin  such  a 
dollar  as  will  not  only  do  justice  among  our  citizens  at  home,  but  will  prove 
a  protection — an  absolute  barricade — against  the  gold  mono-metallists  of  Europe, 
who,  whenever  the  opportunity  offers,  will  quickty  draw  from  us  the  one  hun- 
dred and  sixty  millions  of  gold  coin  which  we  now  hold.  If  we  coin  a  silver 
dollar  of  full  legal  tender,  obviously  below  the  current  value  of  the  gold  dollar, 
we  are  simply  opening  our  doors  and  inviting  Europe  to  take  our  gold.  With 
our  gold  flowing  out  from  us  we  shall  be  forced  to  the  single  silver  standard, 
and  our  relations  with  the  leading  commercial  countries  of  the  world  will  be  not 
only  embarassed,  but  crippled. 

The  question  before  Congress  then — sharply  defined  in  the  pending  House 
bill — is,  whether  it  is  now  safe  and  expedient  to  offer  free  coinage  to  the  silver 
dollar  of  4i2^grains,  with  the  mints  of  the  Latin  Union  closed  and  Germany 
not  permitting  silver  to  be  coined  as  money.  At  current  rates  of  silver,  the 
free  coinage  of  a  dollar  containg  412^  grains,  worth  in  gold  about  ninety-two 
cents,  gives  an  illegitimate  profit  to  the  owner  of  the  bullion,  enabling  him  to 
take  ninety-two  cents'  worth  of  it  to  the  mint  and  get  it  stamped  as  coin  and 
force  his  neighbor  to  take  it  for  a  full  dollar.  This  is  an  unfair  advantage 
which  the  Government  has  no  right  to  give  to  the  owner  of  silver  bullion,  and 


274  LIFE   AND   WORK   OF  JAMES   G.   BLAINE. 

which  defrauds  the  man  who  is  forced  to  take  the  dollar.  It  assuredly  follows 
that  if  we  give  free  coinage  to  this  dollar  of  inferior  value  and  put  it  in  circu- 
lation, we  do  so  at  the  expense  of  our  better  coinage  in  gold  ;  and  unless  we 
expect  the  invariable  experience  of  other  nations  to  be  in  some  mysterious  way 
suspended  for  our  peculiar  benefit,  we  inevitably  lose  our  gold  coin.  It  will  flow 
out  from  us  with  the  certainty  and  with  the  force  of  the  tides.  Gold  has,  indeed, 
remained  with  us  in  considerable  amount  during  the  circulation  of  the  inferior 
currency  of  the  legal  tender;  but  that  was  because  there  wrere  two  great  uses 
reserved  by  law  for  gold, — the  collection  of  customs  and  the  payment  of  inter- 
est on  the  public  debt.  But  if  the  inferior  silver  coin  is  also  to  be  used  for 
these  two  reserved  purposes,  then  gold  has  no  tie  to  bind  it  to  us.  What  gain, 
therefore,  should  we  make  for  the  circulating  medium,  if  on  opening  the  gate 
for  silver  to  flow  in,  we  open  a  still  wider  gate  for  gold  to  flow  out?  If  I  were 
to  venture  upon  a  dictum  on  the  silver  question,  I  should  declare  that  until 
Europe  remonetizes  silver  we  cannot  afford  to  coin  a  dollar  as  low  as  412^ 
grains.  After  Europe  remonetizes  on  the  old  standard,  we  cannot  afford  to 
coin  a  dollar  above  400  grains.  If  we  coin  too  low  a  dollar  before  general 
remonetization  our  gold  will  leave  us.  If  we  coin  too  high  a  dollar  after 
general  remonetization  our  silver  will  leave  us.  It  is  only  an  equated  value 
before  and  after  general  remonetization  that  will  preserve  both  gold  and  silver 
to  us. 

Cjusider  further  what  injustice  would  be  done  to  every  holder  of  a  legal 
tender  or  national  bank  note.  That  large  volume  of  paper  money — in  excess  of 
seven  hundred  millions  of  dollars — is  now  worth  between  ninety-eight  and 
ninety-nine  cents  on  the  dollar  in  gold  coin.  The  holders  of  it,  who  are,  indeed, 
our  entire  population  from  the  poorest  to  the  richest,  have  been  promised  from 
the  hour  of  its  issue  that  their  paper  money  would  one  day  be  as  good  as 
gold.  To  pay  silver  for  the  greenback  is  a  full  compliance  with  this  promise 
and  this  obligation,  provided  the  silver  is  made  as  it  always  has  been  hitherto, 
as  good  as  gold.  To  make  our  silver  coin  even  three  per  cent  less  valuable 
than  gold  inflicts  at  once  a  loss  of  more  than  twenty  millions  of  dollars  on  the 
holders  of  our  paper  money.  To  make  a  silver  dollar  worth  but  ninety-two 
cents  precipitates  on  the  same  class  a  loss  of  nearly  sixty  millions  of  dollars. 
For  whatever  the  value  of  the  silver  dollar  is,  the  whole  paper  issue  of  the 
country  will  sink  to  its  standard  when  its  coinage  is  authorized  and  its  circula- 
tion becomes  general  in  the  channels  of  trade.  Some  one  in  conversation  with 
Commodore  Vanderbilt,  during  one  of  the  many  freight  competitions  of  the 
trunk  lines,  said :  "It  cannot  be  that  the  Canadian  Railroad  has  sufficient  carry- 
ing capacity  to  compete  with  your  great  line  ? "  "  That  is  true,"  replied  the 
Commodore,  "  but  they  can  fix  a  rate  and  force  us  down  to  it."  Were  Con- 
gress to  pass  a  law  to-day  declaring  that  every  legal  tender  note  and  every 
national  bank  note  shall  hereafter  pass  for  only  ninety-six  or  ninety-seven 
cents  on  the    dollar,  there    is    not    a    constituency    in    the    United    States    that 

•  i 

276  LIFE   AND   WORK   OF  JAMES   G.   BLAINE. 

would  re-elect    a    man  who  supported    it,  and  in  many  districts    the    representa- 
tive would  be  lucky  if  he  escaped  merely  with  a  defeat  at  the  polls. 

Yet  it  is  almost  mathematically  demonstrable  that  the  same  effect  will 
follow  from  the  coinage  of  an  inferior  silver  dollar.  Assurances  from  empirics 
and  scientists  in  finance  that  remonetization  of  the  former  dollar  will  at  once 
and  permanently  advance  its  value  to  par  with  gold,  are  worth  little  in  the 
face  of  opposing  and  controlling  facts.  The  first  effect  of  issuing  any  silver 
dollar  that  will  pay  customs  dues  and  interest  on  the  public  debt  will 
undoubtedly  be  to  raise  it  to  a  practical  equality  with  gold ;  but  that 
condition  will  last  only  until  the  amount  needful  for  customs  shall  fill  the 
channels  of  its  use ;  and  the  overflow  going  into  general  circulation  will 
rapidly  settle  to  its  normal  and  actual  value,  and  then  the  discount  will  come 
on  the  volume  of  the  paper  currency,  which  will  sink,  pari  passu,  with  the 
silver  dollar  in  which  it  is  made  redeemable.  That  remonetization  will  have 
a  considerable  effect  in  advancing  the  value  of  the  silver  dollar  is  very 
probable,  but  not  enough  to  overcome  the  difference  now  existing — a  difference 
resulting  from  causes  independent  of  our  control  in  the  United  States. 

The  responsibility  of  re-establishing  silver  in  its  ancient  and  honorable 
place  as  money  in  Europe  and  America  devolves  really  upon  the.  Congress  of 
the  United  States.  If  we  act  here  with  wisdom  and  firmness,  we  shall  not 
only  successfully  remonetize  silver,  and  bring  it  into  general  use  as  money  in 
our  own  country,  but  the  influence  of  our  example  will  be  potential  among 
European  nations,  with  the  possible  exception  of  England.  Indeed,  our  annual 
indebtment  to  Europe  is  so  great  that,  if  we  have  the  right  to  pay  it  in 
silver,  we  necessarily  coerce  those  nations,  by  the  strongest  of  all  forces, 
self-interest,  to  aid  us  in  upholding  the  value  of  silver  as  money.  But  if  we 
attempt  the  remonetization  on  a  basis  which  is  obviously  below  the  fair  standard 
of  value  as  it  now  exists,  we  incur  all  the  evil  consequences  of  failure  at  home, 
and  the  certainty  of  successful  opposition  abroad.  We  are,  and  shall  be,  the 
greatest  producers  of  silver  in  the  world,  and  we  have  a  larger  stake  in  its 
complete  monetization  than  any  other  country.  The  difference  to  the  United 
States,  between  the  general  acceptance  and  the  general  destruction  of  silver  as 
money  in  the  commercial  world,  will  possibly,  within  the  next  half-century,; 
equal  the  entire  bonded  debt  of  the  nation.  But,  to  gain  this  advantage,  we 
must  make  it  actual  money,  the  accepted  equal  of  gold  in  the  markets  of  the* 
world.  Remonetization  here,  followed  by  general  remonetization  in  Europe, 
will  secure  to  the  United  States  the  most  stable  basis  for  its  currency  that  we| 
have  ever  enjoyed,  and  will  effectually  aid  in  solving  all  the  problems  by 
which  our  financial  situation  is  surrounded. 

On  the  much-vexed  and  long-mooted  question  of  a  bi-metallic  or  mono- 
metallic standard,  my  own  views  are  sufficiently  indicated  in  the  remarks  I 
have  made.  I  believe  the  struggle  now  going  on  in  this  country,  and  in 
other    countries,    for    a    single    gold    standard,     would,     if    successful,     produce 


disaster  in  the  end  throughout  the  commercial  world.  The  destruction  of 
silver  as  money,  and  the  establishment  of  gold  as  the  sole  unit  of  value,  must 
have  a  ruinous  effect  on  all  forms  of  property  except  those  investments  which 
yield  a  fixed  return  in  money.  These  would  be  enormously  enhanced  in 
value,  and  would  gain  a  disproportionate,  and  therefore  unfair,  advantage  over 
every  other  species  of  property.  If,  as  the  most  reliable  statistics  affirm,  there 
are  nearly  seven  thousand  millions  of  coin  or  bullion  in  the  world,  not  very 
!  unequally  divided  between  gold  and  silver,  it  is  impossible  to  strike  silver  out 
of  existence  as  money  without  results  which  will  prove  distressing  to  millions, 
and  utterly  disastrous  to  tens  of  thousands.  Alexander  Hamilton,  in  his  able 
and  invaluable  report  in  1791  on  the  establishment  of  a  mint,  declared  that 
"  to  annul  the  use  of  either  gold  or  silver  as  money  is  to  abridge  the  quantity 
of  circulating  medium,  and  is  liable  to  all  the  objections  which  arise  from  a 
comparison  of  the  benefits  of  a  full  circulation  with  the  evils  of  a  scanty 
circulation."  I  take  no  risk  in  saying  that  the  benefits  of  a  full  circulation 
aud  the  evils  of  a  scanty  circulation  are  both  immeasurably  greater  to-day  than 
they  were  when  Mr.  Hamilton  littered  these  weighty  words,  always  provided 
that  the  circulation  is  one  of  actual  money,  and  not  of  depreciated  "  promises 
to  pay." 

In  the  report  from  which  I  have  already  quoted,  Mr.  Hamilton  argues  at 
length  in  favor  of  a  double  standard,  and  all  the  subsequent  experience  of 
ninety  years  has  brought  out  no  clearer  statement  of  the  case,  or  developed  a 
more  complete  comprehension  of  this  subtle  and  difficult  subject.  "  On  the 
whole,"  says  Mr.  Hamilton,  "  it  seems  most  advisable  not  to  attach  the  unit 
exclusively  to  either  of  the  metals,  because  this  cannot  be  clone  effectually 
without  destroying  the  office  and  character  of  one  of  them  as  money,  and 
reducing  it  to  the  situation  of  mere  merchandise."  Mr.  Hamilton  wisely 
concludes  that  this  reduction  of  either  of  the  metals  to  mere  merchandise  (I 
again  quote  his  exact  words)  "  would  probably  be  a  greater  evil  than  occasional 
variations  in  the  unit  from  the  fluctuations  in  the  relative  value  of  the  metals, 
especially  if  care  be  taken  to  regulate  the  proportion  between  them,  with  an 
eye  to  their  average  commercial  value."  I  do  not  think  that  this  country,  hold- 
ing so  vast  a  proportion  of  the  world's  supply  of  silver  in  its  mountains  and 
its  mines,  can  afford  to  reduce  the  metal  to  the  "  situation  of  mere  merchandise." 
If  silver  ceases  to  be  used  as  money  in  Europe  and  America,  the  mines  of  the 
Pacific  slope  will  be  closed  and  dead.  Mining  enterprises  of  the  gigantic  scale 
existing  in  this  country  cannot  be  carried  on  to  provide  backs  for  mirrors,  and 
to  manufacture  cream-pitchers  and  sugar-bowls.  A  source  of  incalculable  wealth 
to  this  entire  country  is  destroyed  the  moment  silver  is  permanently  disused  as 
money.  It  is  for  us  to  check  that  tendency,  and  bring  the  continent  of  Europe 
back  to  the  full  recognition  of  the  value  of  the  metal  as  a  medium  of  exchange. 

The  question  of  beginning  anew  the  coinage  of  silver  dollars  has  aroused 
much  discussion  as    to  its  effect  on    the  public  credit.     The  Senator  from  Ohio 


(Mr.  Matthews)  placed  .this  phase  of  the  subject  in  the  very  forefront  of  the 
debate — insisting,  prematurely  and  illogically,  I  think,  on  a  sort  of  judicial  con- 
struction in  advance,  by  concurrent  resolution,  of  a  certain  law  in  case 
that  law  should  happen  to  be  passed  by  Congress.  My  own  view  on  this 
question  can  be  stated  very  briefly.  I  believe  the  public  creditor  can  afford 
to  be  paid  in  any  silver  dollar  that  the  United  States  can  afford  to  coin 
and  circulate.  We  have  forty  thousand  millions  of  property  in  this  country, 
and  a  wise  self-interest  will  not  permit  us  to  overturn  its  relations  by  seeking 
for  an  inferior  dollar  wherewith  to  settle  the  honest  demands  of  any  creditor. 
The  question  might  be  different  from  a  merely  selfish  point  of  view  if,  on 
paying  the  dollar  to  the  public  creditor,  it  would  disappear  after  performing 
that  function.  But  the  trouble  is  that  the  inferior  dollar  3-011  pay  the  public 
creditor  remains  in  circulation,  to  the  exclusion  of  the  better  dollar.  That 
which  you  pay  at  home  will  stay  here ;  that  which  you  send  abroad  will 
come  back.  The  interest  of  the  public  creditor  is  indissolubly  bound  up  with 
the  interest  of  the  whole  people.  Whatever  affects  him  affects  us  all  ;  and  the 
evil  that  we  might  inflict  upon  him  by  paying  an  inferior  dollar  would  recoil 
upon  us  with  a  vengeance  as  manifold  as  the  aggregate  wealth  of  the  Republic 
transcends  the  comparatively  small  limits  of  our  bonded  debt.  Remember  that 
our  aggregate  wealth  is  always  increasing,  and  our  bonded  debt  steadily  grow- 
ing less  !  If  paid  in  a  good  silver  dollar,  the  bondholder  has  nothing  to  complain 
of.  If  paid  in  an  inferior  silver  dollar,  he  has  the  same  grievance  that  will  be 
uttered  still  more  plaintively  by  the  holder  of  the  legal  tender  note  and  of  the 
national  bank  bill,  by  the  pensioner,  by  the  day  laborer,  and  by  the  countless 
host  of  the  poor,  whom  we  have  with  us  always,  and  on  whom  the  most  dis- 
tressing effect  of  inferior  money  will  be  ultimately  precipitated. 

But  I  must  say,  Mr.  President,  that  the  specific  demand  for  the  payment  of 
our  bonds  in  gold  coin,  and  in  nothing  else,  comes  with  an  ill  grace  from  certain 
quarters.  European  criticism  is  leveled  against  us,  and  hard  names  are  hurled 
at  us  across  the  ocean,  for  simply  daring  to  state  that  the  letter  of  our  law  declares 
the  bonds  to  be  payable  in  standard  coin  of  July  14,  1S70  ;  explicitly 
declared  so,  and  declared  so  in  the  interest  of  the  public  creditor,  and  the 
declaration  inserted  in  the  very  body  of  the  eight  hundred  millions  of  bonds 
that  have  been  issued  since  that  date.  Beyond  all  doubt,  the  silver  dollar  was 
included  in  the  standard  coins  of  that  public  act.  Payment  at  that  time  would  j 
have  been  as  acceptable  and  as  undisputed  in  silver  as  in  gold  dollars,  for 
both  were  equally  valuable  in  the  European  as  well  as  in  the  American 
market.  Seven-eighths  of  all  our  bonds  owned  out  of  the  country  are  held 
in  Germany  and  in  Holland.  Germany  has  demonetized  silver,  and  Holland 
has  been  forced  thereby  to  suspend  its  coinage,  since  the  subjects  ol  both 
Powers  purchased  our  securities.  The  German  Empire,  the  very  year  after 
we  made  our  specific  declaration  for  paying  our  bonds  in  coin,  passed  a  law  | 
destroying,  so    far   as    lay  in   its    power,    the    value    of   silver   as    money.     I    do 

LIFE   AND   WORK   OF  JAMES   G.   BLAINE.  279 

not  say  that  it  was  specially  aimed  at  this  country,  but  it  was  passed  regard- 
less of  its  effect  upon  us,  and  was  followed,  according  to  public  and  uudenied 
statement,  by  a  large  investment  on  the  part  of  the  German  Government 
in  our  bonds,  with  a  view,  it  was  understood,  of  holding  them  as  a  coin  reserve 
for  drawing  gold  from  us  to  aid  in  establishing  their  new  gold  standard  at 
home.  Thus,  by  one  move  the  German  Government  destroyed,  so  far  as  lay 
in  its  power,  the  then  existing  value  of  silver  as  money,  enhanced  conse- 
quently the  value  of  gold,  and  then  got  into  position  to  draw  gold  from 
us  at  the  moment  of  its  need,  which  would  also  be  the  moment  of  our 
own  sorest  distress.  I  do  not  say  that  the  German  Government,  in  these 
successive  steps,  did  a  single  thing  which  it  had  not  a  perfect  right  to  do, 
but  I  do  say  that  the  subjects  of  that  empire  have  no  reason  to  complain 
of  our  Government  for  the  initial  step  which  has  impaired  the  value  of  one 
of  our  standard  coins.  The  German  Government,  by  joining  with  us  in  the 
remonetization  of  silver,  can  place  that  standard  coin  in  its  old  position,  and 
make  it  as  easy  for  this  Government  to  pay  and  as  profitable  for  its  subjects  to 
receive  the  one  metal  as   the  other. 

When  we  pledged  the  public  creditor  in  1S70  that  our  obligations  should 
be  paid  in  the  standard  coin  of  that  date,  silver  bullion  was  worth  in  the  London 
market  a  fraction  over  sixty  pence  per  ounce;  its  average  for  the  past  eight 
months  has  been  about  fifty-four  pence ;  the  price  reckoned  in  gold  in  both  cases. 
But  the  large  difference  is  due  in  part  to  the  rise  of  gold  as  well  as  to  the  fall 
of  silver.  Allowing  for  both  causes  and  dividing  the  difference,  it  will  be 
found,  in  the  judgment  of  many  of  the  wisest  men  in  this  country,  perfectly 
safe  to  issue  a  dollar  of  425  grains  standard  silver;  as  one  that,  anticipating 
the  full  and  legitimate  influence  of  remonetization,  will  equate  itself  with  the 
gold  dollar,  and  effectually  guard  against  the  drain  of  our  gold  during  the  time 
necessary  for  international  conference  in  regard  to  the  general  re-establishment 
of  silver  as  money.  When  that  general  re-establishment  shall  be  effected  with 
a  coinage  of  fewer  grains,  the  dollar  which  I  am  now  advocating  will  not  cause 
loss  or  embarrassment  to  any  one.  The  miner  of  the  ore,  the  owner  of  the 
bullion,  the  holder  of  the  coin,  and  the  government  that  issues  it,  will  all 
in  turn  be  benefited.  It  will  yield  a  profit  on  recoinage  and  will  be  advantageously 
employed  in  our  commercial  relations  with  foreign  countries.  Meanwhile  it  will 
insure  to  our  laborers  at  home  a  full  dollar's  pay  for  a  dollar's  worth  of   work. 

I  think  we  owe  this  to  the  American  laborer.  Ever  since  we  demonetized 
the  old  dollar  we  have  been  running  our  mints  at  full  speed,  coining  a  new 
silver  dollar  for  the  use  of  the  Chinese  coolie  and  the  Indian  pariah — a  dollar 
containing  420  grains  of  standard  silver,  with  its  superiority  over  our  ancient 
dollar  ostentatiously  engraved  on  its  reverse  side.  To  these  "  outside  barbarians  " 
we  send  this  superior  dollar,  bearing  all  our  national  emblems,  our  patriotic 
devices,  our  pious  inscriptions,  our  goddess  of  liberty,  our  defiant  eagle,  our 
federal  unity,  our  trust  in  God.       This    dollar   contains  7^   grains  more  silver 

280  LIFE   AND   WORK   OF  JAMES   G.   BLAINE. 

than  the  famous  "  dollar  of  the  fathers,"  proposed  to  be  recoined  by  the  pending 
bill,  and  more  than  four  times  as  many  of  these  new  dollars  have  already  been 
coined  as  ever  were  coined  of  all  other  silver  dollars  in  the  United  States.  In 
the  exceptional  and  abnormal  condition  of  the  silver  market  now  existing 
throughout  the  world,  we  have  felt  compelled  to  increase  the  weight  of  the 
dollar  with  which  we  carry  on  trade  with  the  heathen  nations  of  Asia.  Shall 
we  do  less  for  the  American  laborer  at  home  ?  Nay,  shall  we  not  do  a  little  better  and 
a  little  more  for  those  of  our  own  blood  and  our  own  fireside  ?  If  you  remonetize  the 
dollar  of  the  fathers  your  mints  will  be  at  once  put  to  work  on  two  different 
dollars — different  in  weight,  different  in  value,  different  in  prestige,  different  in 
their  reputation  and  currency  throughout  the  commercial  world.  It  will  read 
strangely  in  history  that  the  weightier  and  more  valuable  of  these  dollars  is 
made  for  an  ignorant  class  of  heathen  laborers  in  China  and  India,  and  that 
the  lighter  and  less  valuable  is  made  for  the  intelligent  and  educated  laboring- 
man  who  is  a  citizen  of  the  United  States.  Charity,  the  adage  says,  begins  at 
home.  Charity,  the  independent  American  laborer  scorns  to  ask,  but  he  has 
the  right  to  demand  that  justice  should  begin  at  home.  In  his  name  and  in 
the  name  of  common  sense  and  common  honest}-,  I  ask  that  the  American 
Congress  will  not  force  upon  the  American  laborer  an  inferior  dollar  which  the 
naked  and  famishing  laborers  of  India  and  China  refuse  to  accept. 

The  bill  which  I  now  offer  as  a  substitute  for  the  House  bill  contains  three 
very  simple  provisions  : — 

i.  That  the  dollar  shall  contain  four  hundred  and  twenty-five  grains  of 
standard  silver,  shall  have  unlimited  coinage,  and  be  an  unlimited  legal  tender. 

2.  That  all  the  profits  of  coinage  shall  go  to  the  Government,  and  not  to 
the  operator  in  silver  bullion. 

3.  That  silver  dollars  or  silver  bullion,  assayed  and  mint-stamped,  may  be 
deposited  with  the  Assistant  Treasurer  at  New  York,  for  which  coin  certificates 
may  be  issued,  the  same  in  denomination  as  United  States  notes,  not  below  ten 
dollars,  and  that  these  shall  be  redeemable  on  demand  in  coin  or  bullion.  We 
shall  thus  secure  a  paper  circulation  based  on  an  actual  deposit  of  precious 
metal,  giving  us  notes  as  valuable  as  those  of  the  Bank  of  England  and  doing 
away  at  once  with  the  dreaded  inconvenience  of  silver  011  account  of  bulk  and 

I  do  not  fail,  Mr.  President,  to  recognize  that  the  committals  and  avowals 
of  Senators  on  this  question  preclude  the  hope  of  my  substitute  being  adopted. 
I  do  not  indeed  fail  to  recognize  that  on  this  question  I  am  not  in  line  with 
either  extreme, — with  those  who  believe  in  the  single  gold  standard  or  with 
those  who  by  premature  and  unwise  action,  as  I  must  regard  it,  would  force  us 
to  the  single  silver  standard.  Either  will  be  found,  in  my  judgment,  a  great 
misfortune  to  our  country.  We  need  both  gold  and  silver,  and  we  can  have 
both  only  by  making  each  the  equal  of  the  other.  It  would  not  be  difficult  to 
show  that,  in    the    nations  where    both    have    been    fully   recognized    and    most 

LIFE   AND   WORK   OF  JAMES   G.   BLAINE.  281 

widely  diffused,  the  steadiest  and  most  continuous  prosperity  has  been  enjoyed 
— that  true  form  of  prosperity  which  reaches  all  classes,  but  which  begins  with 
the  day-laborer  whose  toil  lays  the  foundation  of  the  whole  superstructure  of 
wealth.  The  exclusively  gold  nation  like  England  may  show  the  most  massive 
fortunes  in  the  ruling  classes,  but  it  shows  also  the  most  helpless  and  hopeless 
poverty  in  the  humbler  walks  of  life.  The  gold  and  silver  nation  like  France 
can  exhibit  no  such  individual  fortunes  as  abound  in  a  gold  nation  like  Eng- 
land, but  it  has  a  peasantry  whose  silver  savings  can  pay  a  war  indemnity  that 
would  have  beggared  the  gold  bankers  of  London,  and  to  which  the  peasantry 
of  England  could  not  have  contributed  a  pound  sterling  in  gold  or  even  a  shilling 
in  silver. 

The  effect  of  paying  the  labor  of  this  country  in  silver  coin  of  full  value, 
as  compared  with  irredeemable  paper — or  as  compared,  even,  with  silver  of 
inferior  value — will  make  itself  felt  in  a  single  generation  to  the  extent  of  tens 
of  millions — perhaps  hundreds  of  millions — in  the  aggregate  savings  which 
represent  consolidated  capital.  It  is  the  instinct  of  man  from  the  savage  to  the 
scholar — developed  in  childhood  and  remaining  with  age — to  value  the  metals 
which  in  all  lands  are  counted  "  precious."  Excessive  paper  money  leads  to 
extravagance,  to  waste,  to  want,  as  we  painfully  witness  to-day.  With  aboiind- 
ing  proof  of  its  demoralizing  and  destructive  effect,  we  hear  it  proclaimed  in 
the  Halls  of  Congress  that  "  the  people  demand  cheap  money."  I  deny  it.  I 
declare  such  a  phrase  to  be  a  total  misapprehension — a  total  misinterpretation — 
of  the  popular  wish.  The  people  do  not  demand  cheap  money.  They  demand 
an  abundance  of  good  money,  which  is  an  entirely  different  thing.  They  do 
not  want  a  single  gold  standard  that  will  exclude  silver  and  benefit  those  already 
rich.  They  do  not  want  an  inferior  silver  standard  that  will  drive  out  gold  and 
not  help  those  already  poor.  They  want  both  metals,  in  full  value,  in  equal 
honor,  in  whatever  abundance  the  bountiful  earth  will  yield  them  to  the  searching 
eye  of  science  and  to  the  hard  hand  of  labor. 

The  two  metals  have  existed  side  by  side  in  harmonious,  honorable  com- 
panionship as  money,  ever  since  intelligent  trade  was  known  among  men.  It 
is  well  nigh  forty  centuries  since  "  Abraham  weighed  to  Ephron  the  silver  which 
he  had  named  in  the  audience  of  the  sons  of  Heth,  four  hundred  shekels  of 
silver,  current  money  with  the  merchant."  Since  that  time  nations  have  risen 
and  fallen,  races  have  disappeared,  dialects  and  languages  have  been  forgotten, 
arts  have  been  lost,  treasures  have  perished,  continents  have  been  discovered, 
islands  have  been  sunk  in  the  sea,  and  through  all  these  ages  and  through  all 
these  changes  silver  and  gold  have  reigned  supreme  as  the  representatives  of 
value — as  the  media  of  exchange.  The  dethronement  of  each  has  been  attempted 
in  turn,  and  sometimes  the  dethronement  of  both ;  but  always  in  vain.  And  we 
are  here  to-day,  deliberating  anew  over  the  problem  which  comes  down  to  us 
from  Abraham's  time — the  weight  of  the  silver  that  shall  be  "  current  money  with 
the  merchant." 

282  LIFE   AND   WORK   OF  JAMES   G.    BLAINE. 

A  short  time  after  the  delivery  of  this  speech  on  the  silver  question,  Mr. 
Blaine  took  up  a  subject  of  international  importance  and  debated  it  before  the 
Senate.  The  theme  was  the  Halifax  award.  It  were  long  to  tell  the  story 
how  a  decision  against  the  United  States  had  been  reached  in  that  matter.  It 
is  not  well  to  review  and  criticise  with  severity  the  decisions  of  an  international 
tribunal.  Arbitration  is  the  most  beneficent  principle  which  has  appeared  in 
modern  diplomacy.  It  should  be  supported  by  the  earnest  sympathy  and  com- 
mendation of  every  lover  of  his  country  and  every  advocate  of  an  advanced 
civilization.  Nevertheless,  it  is  true  that  in  these  the  earlier  years  of  accepted 
arbitration  much  injustice  may  be  expected.  The  application  of  the  principle  is 
new.  It  is  natural  that  the  governments  adopting  it  should  at  first  bring  to  bear 
upon  the  international  tribuual  those  political  matters  which  have  proved  so 
available  in  the  management  of  the  affairs  of  the  respective  States.  It  is  in  the 
true  nature  of  the  international  tribunal  that  its  methods  should  be  judicial, 
not  political.  For  this  reason  injustice  has  appeared  in  varying  degrees  in  nearly 
all  of  the  decisions  thus  far  reached.  This  was  true  in  particular  of  the  Halifax 
award.  The  decision  against  the  United  States  in  that  matter  was  little  short 
of  iniquitous.  It  was  so  because  the  decision  was  gained  by  a  series  of  nefarious 
processes  which  might  well  have  been  renounced  by  the  Government  of  the 
United  States  if  that  Government  could  have  done  so  without  at  the  same  time 
renouncing  the  principle  of  arbitration.  Speaking  on  this  question,  on  the 
eleventh  of  March,   1878,  Mr.  Blaine  said: — 

Mr.  President. — The  resolution  of  inquiry,  which  I  offered  a  fortnight 
ago,  was  met  with  objection  and  was  laid  over.  I  call  it  up  now  to  explain  my 
reasons  for  desiring  its  adoption.  For  some  time  past  there  have  been  rumors 
of  an  unpleasant  character  touching  the  mode  in  which  M.  Delfosse,  the  Belgian 
minister  accredited  to  this  country,  was  urged  by  the  British  Government  as 
the  third  commissioner  under  the  Treaty  of  Washington  on  the  question  of  the 
fisheries.  These  rumors  come  in  a  form  that  enforces  attention,  and  while  I 
do  not  pretend  to  vouch  for  their  entire  accuracy,  I  think  they  are  sufficiently 
grave  to  call  for  authentication  or  denial. 

It  appears  by  these  reports  that  during  the  conference  of  the  joint  high 
commission  in  April,  1S71,  Lord  Ripon,  speaking  for  the  English  Government, 
said  in  relation  to  the  several  proposed  arbitrations  which  were  under  discussion, 
that  it  would  not  be  a  proper  thing  for  England  to  offer  Belgium  or  Portugal 
as  arbitrators  ;  and  he  especially  spoke  of  Belgium  as  being  incapacitated  for  the 
function  by  reason  of  her  peculiar  relations  with  England.  This  declaration  was 
promptly  assented  to  by  the  American  commissioners.  With  the  understanding 
thus  volunteered  by  Lord  Ripon,  the  Halifax  commission  of  three  arbitrators  on 
the  fisheries  was  agreed  to — our  Government  to  name  one,  the  British  Govern- 
ment to  name  one,  and  the  two  governments  conjointly  to  name  the  third.  It 
was  stipulated  that  if  the  two  governments  could  not  agree  on  the  third  com- 
missioner within  three  months,  the  Austrian  ambassador  at  London  should  name 


■i  '%  *■ 



284  LIFE   AND   WORK   OF  JAMES   G.    BLAINE. 

hirn.  As  soon  as  the  fishery  clause  of  the  treaty  went  into  effect  in  July,  1873, 
the  Secretary  of  State,  Mr.  Fish,  formally  invited  the  British  minister,  Sir  Edward 
Thornton,  to  confer  with  him  in  regard  to  the  appointment  of  the  third  commis- 
sioner. He  found  Sir  Edward  without  instructions  from  his  Government,  and 
after  delaying  for  some  days  Mr.  Fish  took  the  initiative  and  submitted  a  number 
of  names  for  his  consideration.  Among  these,  selected  from  a  large  field,  were 
Mariscal,  minister  from  Mexico;  Offenberg,  minister  from  Russia ;  Borges,  from 
Brazil ;  Polo,  from  Spain ;  the  Count  de  Noailles,  from  France ;  Westenberg,  from 
Holland,  and  others.  Mr.  Fish  did  not  include  M.  Delfosse  among  these,  as  he 
thought  that  his  name  had  been  fairly  excluded  by  the  understanding  of  the 
joint  high  commission. 

Sir  Edward  Thornton  made  no  response  for  several  weeks  and  then 
answered  Mr.  Fish,  declining  to  accept  any  of  the  names  submitted  by  him, 
and  proposing  in  turn  the  single  name  of  M.  Delfosse.  It  was  understood,  I 
believe,  that  Sir  Edward  was  acting  under  the  direct  instructions  of  Lord 
Granville,  British  secretary  of  foreign  affairs.  Mr.  Fish  peremptorily 
declined  to  accept  M.  Delfosse  and  quoted  Lord  Ripon's  remark  in  regard  to 
Belgium,  and  again  urged  Sir  Edward  to  accept  one  of  the  names  proposed 
by  him  or  else  to  propose  some  names  himself.  In  answer  to  this  Sir  Edward 
stated  that  Lord  Dufferin,  the  Governor-General  of  the  Dominion  of  Canada, 
speaking  for  the  Canadians,  objected  to  taking  as  the  third  commissioner  any 
one  accredited  to  our  Government.  Immediately  after  this  declaration  Sir 
Edward  appeared  at  the  State  Department  with  fresh  instructions  from  Lord 
Granville  to  insist  on  M.  Delfosse,  though  at  that  very  moment  M.  Delfosse 
was  accredited  to  our  Government.  The  only  alternative  presented  by  Sir 
Edward  was  that  his  Government  would  accept  some  "Dutch  gentleman"  that 
might  be  chosen  at  the  Hague  by  the  American  and  British  ministers.  This 
mode  of  selection  was  at  once  rejected  by  Mr.  Fish  as  not  being  within  the 
terms  of  the  treat}'.  The  three  months  within  which  the  two  governments 
were  to  act  conjointly  having  been  thus  exhausted,  appareatlv  by  the  design 
of  the  British  Government,  the  matter  was  by  the  treat}'  remanded  to  the 
Austrian  ambassador  at  London.  A  delay  of  some  years  then  ensued  in 
consequence  of  the  negotiations  for  a  reciprocity  treaty  which,  if  secured, 
would  have  precluded  the  necessity  of  arbitrating  the  fishery  question.  The 
correspondence  was  not  renewed  until   1876. 

The  result  of  the  whole  was  that  in  February,  1S77,  the  Austrian 
ambassador  at  London  nominated  M.  Delfosse  as  the  third  commissioner.  It 
is  now  reported  on  the  authority  of  an  interview  recently  published  in  the 
New  York  Herald  that  Mr.  Fish  finally  assented  to  the  appointment  of 
M.  Delfosse  by  the  Austrian  ambassador.  This  may  or  may  not  be  true,  but 
it  is  not  material  to  the  issue ;  for  the  matter  had  lapsed  absolutely  into  the 
hands  of  the  ambassador,  and  as  he  was  resident  in  London,  in  easy  com- 
munication   with    the    British    ministry,    they    had    means    of    influencing    the 

LIFE   AND   WORK   OF  JAMES   G.   BLAINE.  285 

decision  that  were  not  within  our  power.  Mr.  Fish  may  well  have  thought 
that  as  the  appointment  of  M.  Delfosse  was  inevitable,  it  was  prudent  and 
expedient  to  submit  to  it  gracefully,  and  in  such  a  way  as  not  to  incur  the 
personal  ill-will  of  the  third  commissioner.  I  can  well  see  how  a  wise 
Secretary,  like  Mr.  Fish,  might  in  the  end  have  been  thus  influenced,  after 
having  exhausted  every  effort,  as  he  so  ably  and  fearlessly  did,  to  keep 
M.  Delfosse  off  the  commission. 

I  do  uot  intend  in  any  remarks  I  am  making  to  cast  reflections  on 
M.  Delfosse,  who  is  known  as  an  honorable  representative  of  his  Government. 
I  only  mean  to  imply  and  to  assert  that,  if  Lord  Ripon  is  to  be  credited,  M. 
Delfosse  was  not  in  a  position  to  be  an  impartial  arbitrator;  and  that  in  my 
judgment,  Great  Britain  never  should  have  proposed  him.  Mr.  Fish  was 
therefore  justified  in  resisting  his  appointment  as  long  as  resistance  promised 
to  be  effectual.  Nor  do  I  mean  to  impute  to  Sir  Edward  Thornton  any 
proceeding  that  was  not  strictly  honorable.  The  highly  esteemed  representative 
of  the  British  Government  at  this  Capital  in  all  he  did  was  simply  following 
the  instructions  of  Lord  Granville.  But  I  do  mean  to  say,  if  I  am  correctly 
informed,  that  the  correspondence  for  which  my  resolution  calls  will  disclose  a 
designed  and  persistent  effort  on  the  part  of  the  British  Government  to  secure 
an  advantage  in  the  selection  of  the  third  commissioner  on  the  question  of  the 
fisheries.  It  is  but  just  to  remark  that  the  Dominion  of  Canada  had  no  more 
rio-ht  to  interpose  in  the  matter  than  had  the  States  of  Massachusetts  and 
Maine;  and  that  the  Governors  of  those  States  had  the  same  right  to 
speak  for  their  people  in  regard  to  selecting  a  third  commissioner  as 
had  Lord  Dufferiu  to  speak  for  the  people  of  the  Dominion.  The 
negotiation  was  between  two  great  nations,  and  subordinate  States  and  prov- 
inces had  no  right  to  dictate,  or  even  to  suggest,  unless  called  upon  by  the 
two  principals. 

It  may  be  somewhat  premature  to  speak  of  the  award  made  by  the  Halifax 
commission,  but  as  it  is  already  discussed  in  the  press  of  both  countries,  a 
brief  reference  to  it  may  not  be  out  of  place.  The  extraordinary  nature  of 
that  award  can  only  be  appreciated  when  the  surrounding  facts  are  understood. 
In  the  original  discussion  of  the  fishery  question  by  the  joint  high  commis- 
sion in  1 87 1,  the  American  commissioners  could  be  induced  to  offer  only  one 
million  dollars  for  all  the  fishing  privileges  subsequently  embodied  in  the  treaty. 
The  British  commissioners  declined  this  offer,  and  would  enter  into  no  negotia- 
tion that  did  not  include  the  admission  of  the  products  of  the  Canadian  fisheries 
into  the  American  market  free  of  duty.  This  concession,  highly  advantageous 
to  Canada  and  highty  injurious  to  our  fisheries,  was  finally  inserted  in  the 
treaty.  It  was  further  agreed  to  decide  by  arbitration  what  amount  of  additional 
compensation  should  be  paid  by  us  for  the  right  to  use  the  inshore  fisheries 
of  Nova  Scotia  for  twelve  years.  The  Halifax  commission  took  the  subject  into 
consideration,  and  two  commissioners   (both  in  effect  selected  by  Great    Britain) 

286  LIFE   AND   WORK   OF  JAMES   G.    BLAINE. 

determined  that  we  should  pay  her  five  and  a  half  millions  of  dollars  in  gold 
coin,  or  at  the  rate  of  nearly  half  a  million  dollars  per  annum.  The  duties  on 
the  products  of  Canadian  fisheries  imported  into  this  country  (all  remitted  by 
the  treaty)  would  be  almost  another  half  million  dollars  per  annum  ;  so  that 
under  this  award  we  should  be  actually  paying  nearly  a  million  of  dollars  per 
annum  in  gold  coin  for  the  privilege  of  inshore  fishing  on  the  coast  of  Nova  Scotia, 
where  the  total  catch  by  American  fishermen,  beyond  what  we  had  the  right  to  take 
without  this  treaty,  would  not  amount  to  much  over  three  hundred  thousand 
dollars  per  annum.  In  other  words,  we  are  paying  to  Great  Britain  a  million 
of  dollars  per  annum  for  the  privilege  of  catching  less  than  four  hundred 
thousand  dollars'  worth  of  fish.  Such  is  a  mere  outline  of  the  facts  of  the  case, 
and  the  injustice  of  the  award  is  so  palpable  that  it  is  difficult  to  treat  it  with 
the  respect  due  to  all  subjects  involving  international  relations. 

The  question  as  to  the  binding  force  of  the  award  is  naturally  and  neces- 
sarily one  of  the  gravest  interest,  not  only  on  account  of  the  large  amount 
involved,  but  on  account  of  the  very  peculiar  circumstances  under  which  the 
decision  against  us  was  reached.  The  award  was  signed  onty  by  Sir  Alexander 
Gait,  the  British  commissioner,  and  by  M.  Delfosse.  The  American  commis- 
sioner, Mr.  Kellogg,  refused  to  sign  it,  and  affirmed  his  dissent  in  writing; 
declaring  it  to  be  his  deliberate  opinion  that  the  advantages  accruing  to  Great 
Britain  under  the  treaty  were  greater  than  those  conferred  on  the  United  States ; 
and  he  further  declared  that  he  deemed  it  his  duty  to  state  that  it  is  questionable 
whether  it  is  competent  for  the  board  to  make  an  award  under  the  treaty 
except  with  the  unanimous  consent  of  all  the  arbitrators.  Mr.  Dwight  Foster, 
the  agent  of  our  Government,  stated  that  he  "  had  no  instructions  as  to  what 
he  should  do  under  the  circumstances,  but  he  could  not  keep  silent,  and  give 
ground  for  the  inference  that  our  Government  would  consider  the  award  a 
valid  one."  I  mention  these  facts  to  show  that  objections  to  the  validity  of  the 
award  were  not  the  result  of  afterthought,  but  were  incorporated  as  part  of  the 
proceedings  before  the  arbitrators. 

The  ground  on  which  Mr.  Kellogg  questioned  the  competency  of  two  of  the 
arbitrators  to  make  an  award  is  that  found  in  all  the  legal  authorities  on 
arbitration.  The  articles  in  the  Treaty  of  Washington  creating  the  Halifax 
board  of  arbitration  gave  no  authority  to  a  majority  of  the  board  to  make  an 
award,  nor  was  the  third  commissioner  empowered  to  act  as  umpire.  Both  in 
the  tribunal  at  Geneva  and  in  the  Claims  Commission  at  Washington,  it  was 
expressly  stipulated  that  a  majority  of  the  arbitrators  should  decide.  In  the 
Halifax  commission  no  such  stipulation  was  made,  and  the  inference  therefore 
is  strong,  if  not  irresistible,  that  their  award  should  be  made  according  to  the 
general  law  of  arbitration.  What  the  law  is,  upon  English  authority,  may  be 
briefly  stated. 

Redman  on  "  Arbitration  and  Awards,"  considered  one  of  the  highest 
authorities  in  England,  says: — 

LIFE   AND   WORK   OF  JAMES   G.   BLAINE.  287 

"On  a  reference  to  several  arbitrators  with  no  provision  that  less  than  all 
shall  make  an  award,  each  must  act  :  and  all  must  act  together ;  and  every 
stage  of  the  proceedings  must  be  in  the  presence  of  all ;  and  the  award  must 
be  signed  by  all  at  the  same  time." 

Francis  Russell,  another  English  authority  of  eminence,  says  : — 

"  On  a  reference  to  several  arbitrators  together,  when  there  is  no  clause 
providing  for  an  award  made  by  less  than  all  being  valid,  each  of  them  must 
act  personally  in  performance  of  the  duties  of  his  office,  as  if  he  were  sole 
arbitrator  ;  for  as  the  office  is  joint,  if  one  refuse  or  omit  to  act,  the  others 
can  make  no  valid  award." 

Stewart  Kyd,  an  earlier  but  not  less  authoritative  writer,  enforces  the  same 
doctrine.  After  alluding  to  the  Roman  law  and  to  its  permission  for  the 
rnajoritv  of  arbitrators  to  decide,  Mr.   Kyd  makes  the  following  statement: — 

"In  this  respect  the  law  of  England  is  somewhat  different;  for  unless  it 
be  expressly  provided  in  the  submission  that  a  less  number  than  all  the  arbi- 
trators named  may  make  the  award,  the  concurrence  of  all  is  necessary." 

If  these  eminent  English  authors  are  to  be  accepted,  it  is  quite  apparent 
that  the  Halifax  award  has  no  binding  effect  in  law.  As  to  the  equity  of  the 
case,  I  have  already  given  the  undeniable  facts  that  govern  it. 

I  am  not  now  discussing,  much  less  presuming  to  define,  the  action  which 
our  Government  should  ultimately  take  in  regard  to  the  award.  If  we  should 
follow  what  I  believe  would  be  the  inevitable  course  of  Great  Britain  under 
similar  circumstances,  we  should  utterly  refuse  to  pay  a  single  penny,  and  ground 
our  refusal  both  on  the  law  and  the  equity  of  the  case.  The  treaty  as  it 
stands  is  a  mockery  of  justice,  and  will  work  the  certain  destruction  of  a  great 
American  interest.  It  is  in  fact  nothing  else  than  asking  us  to  pay  a  million 
dollars  per  annum  to  Great  Britain  for  destroying  the  entire  fishing  interest  of 
America  and  still  further  crippling  and  weakening  us  as  a  commercial  power. 
For  the  utter  abrogation  of  the  treaty  I  should  be  willing  to  pay  the  annual 
indemnity  for  the  years  we  have  used  the  inshore  fisheries,  during  which  years 
the  Canadians  have  had  free  access  to  the  markets  of  forty-five  millions  of  people ; 
or  I  should  be  willing  to  pay  double  the  award  to  be  rid  of  the  treat)'.  We 
might  by  this  course  anticipate  by  a  period  of  seven  years  a  return  to  that  policy 
which  alone  can  insure  the  prosperity  or  even  save  the  life  of  a  great  and 
important  trade,  indissolubly  associated  with  our  commercial  development  and 
absolutely  essential  to  our  success  and  prestige  as  a  naval  power.  Paying  thus 
even  an  unfair  price  for  the  inshore  fisheries  as  long  as  we  have  used  them, 
we  remove  all  possible  ground  for  imputation,  even  by  the  ignorant  and  the 
hostile,  upon  the  honor  of  our  Government  and  the  good  faith  and  fair  dealing 
of  our  people. 

When  we  were  poor  and  weak  as  a  nation,  we  so  highly  esteemed  the  value 
of  the  fisheries  that  we  encouraged  their  development  by  rewards  and  bounties. 
These  were  abandoned  some  years  ago,  but  still  we  preserved  to  our  fishermen 

288  LIFE   AND   WORK   OF  JAMES   G.   BLAINE. 

a  preference  in  our  own  markets.  Even  that  is  given  away  by  the  provisions 
of  this  treaty.  By  the  Halifax  award,  if  we  accept  it,  and  continue  the  treaty, 
we  pay  to  Great  Britain  one  million  dollars  per  annum  for  destroying  a  school 
of  commerce,  which,  properly  nurtured,  will  be  her  great  rival  in  the  future. 
Against  such  a  policy  I  enter  my  protest,  if  I  stand  alone.  I  believe  that  the 
products  of  American  industry,  on  land  and  sea,  should  have  the  first  and  best 
chance  in  the  American  markets.  I  believe  the  American  fisherman  should  be 
preferred  by  us  to  the  Canadian  fisherman.  If  we  cannot  pay  him  a  bounty 
to  encourage  and  sustain  him,  let  us  at  least  not  pay  a  bounty  to  Great  Britain 
to  destroy  him. 

Mr.  Hamlin. — Mr.  President,  I  interpose  no  objection  to  the  passage  of 
this  resolution,  while  on  the  other  hand  I  think  it  wise  and  well  that  we  shall 
have  all  the  facts  in  relation  to  this  matter  before  us.  I  agree  entirely  with 
my  colleague,  with  the  Senator  from  Massachusetts,  and  with  the  gentleman 
whose  letter  has  been  read  at  the  table  by  the  clerk,  that  we  get  no  compen- 
sation for  that  award  in  any  equivalent  granted  by  the  inshore  fisheries  along 
the  coast  of  Nova  Scotia.  I  have  no  hesitation  in  declaring  that  an  equivalent 
in  the  receipt  of  the  fish  caught  in  the  provinces  in  our  market  is  far  beyond 
anything  which  we  receive  in  return  under  that  treaty.  There  can  be  no  doubt 
about  it.  And  yet  we  are  living  to-day  under  a  treaty  negotiated  here  in  this 
city  ;  and  while  it  is  the  law  of  the  land  and  a  contract  existing  between  the 
two  high  contracting  parties,  the  honor  of  this  Government  demands  that  we 
maintain  all  the  obligations  that  are  imposed  upon  us.  If  it  be  true  that  we 
were  overreached,  or  that  in  the  selection  of  the  arbitrator  an  improper  person 
was  taken,  we  must  remember  that  he  was  finally  taken  by  the  assent  of  this 
Government;  and  when  we  come  to  the  consideration  of  the  subject  it  will  be 
one  which  involves  the  honor  of  our  Government,  and  one  which  I  need  not 
undertake  to  say  will  demand  of  us  that  we  meet  promptly  and  fully  what 
shall  be  required. 

Mr.  Blaine. — I  quite  agree  with  my  colleague  upon  that,  and  I  think  our 
merit  will  be  all  the  greater  if  we  pay  an  award  of  five  and  a  half  millions 
when  we  have  proved  to  the  world  that  we  did  not  get  anything  for  it.  Pa}ang 
one's  debt  for  full  value  received  is  considered  a  proper  and  upright  course  for 
upright  men ;  but  paying  a  large  sum  for  which  we  get  nothing  in  return 
ought  to  be  accounted  to  us  for  a  good  deal  more  of  righteousness. 

[The  correspondence  between  the  two  Governments  was  sent  to  the  Senate 
on  the  twenty-sixth  of  March,  and  on  moving  that  it  be  printed  Mr.  Blaine 
spoke  as  follows  : — ] 

Mr.  President. — I  move  that  the  correspondence  between  the  American 
and  British  Governments  in  regard  to  the  appointment  of  M.  Delfosse  on  the 
Halifax  commission  be  taken  from  the  table  and  referred  to  the  Committee  on 
Foreign  Affairs.  I  beg  at  the  same  time  to  call  the  attention  of  the  Senate  to 
the  fact  that  the  correspondence  more  than  justifies  all  I  said  in  regard  to  the 


very  extraordinary  efforts  of  Lord  Granville  to  force  M.  Delfosse  upon  uor 
Government.  I  would  particularly  direct  attention  to  the  letter  of  Sir  Edward 
Thornton,  of  August  19,  1873,  and  to  Mr.  Fish's  reply  on  the  twenty-first  of 
the  same  month. 

When  the  resolution  calling  for  this  correspondence  was  before  the  Senate, 
I  agreed  with  my  honorable  colleague,  the  chairman  of  the  Committee  on 
Foreign  Affairs,  that  the  award  would  be  paid,  not  because  it  was  just  or  was 
founded  upon  any  fact  or  evidence  submitted  to  the  Halifax  commission,  but 
simply  because  it  was  an  award  which  for  honor's  sake  we  might  pay,  though 
we  got  nothing  for  the  large  sum  required.  If  the  payment  of  five  and  a  half 
millions  were  the  end  of  the  matter  I  should  be  willing  to  vote  it  in  silence 
and  bury  the  whole  matter  out  of  sight.  But  the  truth  is  that  this  award  is 
only  the  beginning  of  trouble.  The  period  for  which  it  pays  will  be  ended  in 
five  years  and  then  our  privilege  for  inshore  fishing  must  be  negotiated  afresh. 
It  was  well  known  at  Halifax  during  the  session  of  the  commission  that  the 
Canadian  authorities  were  striving  not  simply  for  the  large  sum  in  hand,  but 
for  the  fixing  of  a  rate  by  which  to  assess  the  price  of  the  inshore  fisheries  in 
future.  It  is  our  duty  to  show  that  the  rate  fixed  by  the  Halifax  commission 
has  no  foundation  whatever  in  truth  or  in  fact,  and  that  no  evidence  was  before 
the  commission  to  justify  the  award.  I  hold  in  my  hand  some  statistics  of  very 
great  interest  bearing  on  the  question,  from  which  it  appears  that  the  total  value 
of  the  catch  in  the  inshore  fisheries  by  American  fishermen,  during  the  four 
years  the  treaty  has  been  in  operation,  was  only  four  hundred  and  thirty -five 
thousand  one  hundred  and  seventy  dollars,  on  which  the  profit  was  probably 
one  hundred  thousand  dollars.  This  covers  the  entire  catch  for  which  we  obtained 
the  right  under  the  treaty.  During  the  same  four  years  the  duties  on  Canadian 
fish  and  oil  remitted  by  our  Government  amounted  to  a  million  and  a  half  of 
dollars  in  gold,  and  now  under  this  treaty  we  are  compelled  to  pay  half  a 
million  per  annum  in  addition,  or  two  millions  of  dollars  in  gold  coin  for  the 
four  years.  In  other  words,  by  remission  of  duties  and  the  payment  of  cash  from 
the  Treasury  our  Government  is  called  upon  to  pay  three  and  a  half  millions 
of  dollars  in  gold  coin  for  the  privilege  of  permitting  our  fishermen  to  make 
a  profit  of  one  hundred  thousand  dollars  on  the  inshore  fisheries  of  Nova  Scotia. 

Considerable  comment  has  been  made  in  the  country  on  the  point  suggested 
by  me  that  the  Washington  treaty  required  the  unanimous  verdict  of  the  Halifax 
commissioners  before  a  legally  valid  award  could  be  made.  I  quoted  some 
eminent  English  authorities  in  support  of  this  position.  Since  then  a  friend  has 
shown  me  a  copy  of  the  London  Times  of  July  6,  1877,  containing  an  elaborate 
editorial  article  in  regard  to  the  fishery  commission  then  about  to  assemble 
in  Halifax.     In  discussing  the  powers   of   the  commission,  the    Times  said  : — 

"  On  every  point  that  comes  before  the   fishery  commission  for  decision  the 
unanimous  consent  of  all  its  members  is,  by  the  terms  of  the  treat}',  necessary 
before  an  authoritative   verdict  can  be  given." 

290  LIFE   AND   WORK   OF  JAMES   G.    BLAINE. 

The  Times  then  points  out  the  difference  between  the  Geneva  tribunal  and 
the  Halifax  commission,  showing  that  a  majority  could  decide  at  Geneva,  but 
affirming  that  the  United  States  would  have  a  perfect  right  to  demand  unani- 
mity in  the  verdict  at  Halifax. 

It  is  also  well  known  that  the  Halifax  commission  was  discussed  by  the 
Canadian  ministry  in  1875,  after  the  negotiations  for  a  reciprocity  treaty  had 
failed.  On  that  occasion  Mr.  Blake,  the  minister  of  justice,  remarked  that  the 
"  amount  of  compensation  we  shall  receive  must  be  an  amount  unanimously 
agreed  upon  by  the  commissioners.".  I  mention  these  facts  to  show  that  I 
spoke  with  full  authority  when  I  suggested  that  the  verdict  rendered  at  Hali- 
fax was  not  legally  binding  under  the  terms  of  the  treaty.  Its  payment  must 
be  justified  on  other  grounds,  and  I  have  already  intimated  more  than  once  that 
considerations  entirely  outside  of  the  legality  or  the  justice  of  the  award  might 
constrain  us  to  respect  it.  But  it  should  never  be  paid  without  such  protest  as 
wall  forever  prevent  its  being  quoted  as  a  precedent  or  accepted  as  a  standard 
to  measure  the  value  of  the  inshore  fisheries  in  future  negotiations." 

One  of  the  prevailing  sentiments  of  Mr.  Blaine's  political  life  was  the 
notion  of  enlarging  the  influence  of  the  United  States  and  extending  that  influ- 
ence throughout  the  Western  Hemisphere.  This  enlargement  and  extension  had, 
in  his  theory,  reference  first  of  all  to  trade  and  commerce.  It  cannot  be  doubted 
that  the  purpose  of  Blaine  to  develop  his  country's  interests  in  these  particu- 
lars has  proved  salutary  and  that  his  policy  will  extend  far  into  the  twentieth 
century.  Long  before  the  transference  of  Blaine  to  the  Senate  we  may  note 
the  outgivings  of  what  has  become  his  international  policy.  After  the  begin- 
ning of  his  senatorial  career  he  began  to  develop  this  policy  witli  assiduity  as 
well  as  success.  By  the  middle  of  1878  the  question  of  an  increase  of  trade 
with  South  America  was  on  and  the  Senator  from  Maine  took  up  the  theme 
with  interest  and    enthusiasm. 

In  a  memorable  debate  in  the  House  of  Commons,  Mr.  Macaulay  reminded 
Daniel  O'Connell,  when  he  was  moving  for  repeal,  that  the  English  Whigs 
had  endured  calumny,  abuse,  popular  fury,  loss  of  position,  exclusion  from  Par- 
liament rather  than  that  the  great  agitator  himself  should  be  less  than  a  British 
subject;  and  Mr.  Macaulay  warned  him  that  they  would  never  suffer  him  to  be 
more.  Let  me  now  remind  you  that  the  Government,  under  whose  protecting 
flag  we  sit  to-day,  sacrificed  myriads  of  lives  and  expended  thousands  of  millions 
of  treasure  that  our  countrymen  of  the  South  should  remain  citizens  of  the 
United  States,  having  equal  personal  rights  and  equal  political  privileges  with  all 
other  citizens.  I  venture,  now  and  here,  to  warn  the  men  of  the  South,  in  the 
exact  words  of  Macaulav,  that  we  will  never  suffer  them  to  be  more  ! 

Now   it  was  that    the  question  of  Chinese  immigration    loomed    up  big  and  ; 
dark  upon  the  Western  horizon.     The  shadow  of  it  extended  across  the  Missis- 
sippi Valley  and    to  the  Atlantic  coast.     The    problem    seemed    to  be  burdened 
with   paradoxes.      Have  not    people  of   a  foreign  country  a  right  to  come  to  our ; 


shores  and  did  not  we  ourselves  or  our  aucestors  come  from  over  sea  ?  What 
is  the  theory  of  the  American  Republic  ?  Have  we  not  declared  ourselves  to  be 
a  great  democracy  ?  Does  not  every  Fourth  of  July  ring  with  the  assertion  that 
this  is  the  asylum  for  the  world?  Can  any  one  be  American  and  deny  to  any 
other  whomsoever  the  right  to  be  American  also  ?  This  is  one  side  of  the 

But  there  is  another  side.  Is  not  this  country  intended  to  be  preserved  and 
maintained  as  a  republican  democracy  ?  Can  we  permit  any  influence,  whether 
domestic  or  foreign,  to  sap  our  foundations  and  bear  us  away  ?  Even  if  we  admit 
the  principle  of  free  immigration,  is  not  immigration  one  thing  and  invasion 
another?  Shall  we  permit  ourselves  to  be  invaded  and  overwhelmed — this  for 
the  sake  of  our  theory,  that  we  are  an  asylum  for  the  world  ?  Will  it  be  possible 
for  America,  sixty  millions  strong,  or,  may  be,  a  hundred  millions  strong,  to  open 
her  Western  gates  to  a  paganism  which  is  five  hundred  millions  strong?  If 
America  is  to  be  for  the  world,  must  she  not  be  for  Americans  first  and  for  other 
people  afterwards  ?  Or,  blankly,  is  it  not  overwhelming  the  dangers  to  free 
institutions  and  to  the  progress  of  civilization  that  an  innumerable  horde  of 
oriental  pagans  shall  be  freely  admitted  to  rush  in  to  our  republican  domains 
and  tinge  our  whole  life  with    yellow — and  dirty  yellow  at  that  ? 

And  the  world  knows  Mr.  Blaine's  antagonism  to  the  Chinese  invasion  of 
our  country.  No  doubt  he  himself  felt  the  paradox  of  the  situation ;  but  the 
dilemma  before  him,  he  chose  that  horn  which  he  thought  least  dangerous  to 
his  country  and  his  countrymen.  The  question  of  free  immigration  was  before 
the  Senate  in  the  year  1S79.  On  the  fourteenth  of  February,  in  that  year, 
Blaine  addressed  that  body  on  the  subject  of  "  Chinese  Immigration  to  the  Pacific 
Slope."     He  said  : — 

Mr.  President. — In  the  remarks  made  yesterday  by  the  honorable 
Senator  from  Ohio  (Mr.  Matthews)  he  intimated,  if  he  did  not  directly  assert, 
that  the  Government  of  the  United  States  had  solicited  from  the  Chinese 
Empire  the  treat}'  now  under  consideration.  The  statement  is,  I  think, 
thoueh  of  course  not  so  intended,  the  exact  reverse  of  the  historic  fact.  What 
is  known  as  the  Reed  Treaty  had  given  to  the  merchants  of  the  United 
States,  and  to  all  who  desired  to  trade  in  China,  the  facilities  they  desired. 
The  Burlingame  Treaty,  involving  other  points,  was  certainly  asked  from  the 
United  States  in  the  most  impressive  manner  by  a  Chinese  embassy.  The 
eminent  gentleman  who  had  gone  to  China  as  our  minister,  had  transferred 
his  services  to  the  Chinese  Empire,  and  returning  to  us  with  great  prestige  at 
the  head  of  a  special  embassy  from  China,  with  a  great  number  of  friends  at 
home,  was  able  to  do  what  perhaps  no  other  man  then  living  could  have  done 
for  China.  He  was  often  spoken  of  during  his  lifetime  as  merely  a  stump 
speaker.  He  has  been  ten  years  in  his  grave ;  and  I  desire,  now  that  his 
name  is  before  us,  to  refer  to  him  as  a  man  of  great  address  and  great  ability, 
a  man   who  showed  his  power   by  the    commanding    position  which  he  acquired 

292  LIFE    AND   WORK   OF  JAMES   G.   BLAINE. 

iu  the  Chinese  Empire,  and    by    the    influence    which    he    exerted    in    his    own 
country  in  its  relations  to  China. 

This  subject  divides  itself  naturally  into  two  parts,  one  of  form  and  one 
of  substance.  The  one  of  form  is  whether  we  may  rightfully  adopt  this  mode 
of  terminating  the  treaty.  The  second  and  graver  question  is  whether  it  is 
desirable  to  exclude  Chinese  immigration  from  this  country.  I  noticed  that 
the  Senator  from  Ohio  yesterday  in  discussing  the  first  of  these  questions 
called  the  attention  of  the  Senate  to  the  gravity  of  the  obligation  which  exists 
between  the  two  countries,  but  he  stopped  reading  at  a  very  significant  point. 
He  read  the  following  paragraph,  or  part  of  a  paragraph,  from  the  fifth  article 
of  the  treaty  : — 

"  The  United  States  of  America  and  the  Emperor  of  China  cordially  recog- 
nize the  inherent  and  inalienable  right  of  man  to  change  his  home  and  allegi- 
ance, and  also  the  mutual  advantage  of  the  free  migration  and  emigration  of 
their  citizens  and  subjects,  respectively,  from  the  one  country  to  the  other,  for 
purposes  of  curiosity,  of  trade,  or  as  permanent  residents." 

Here  the  honorable  Senator  from  Ohio  stopped,  and  it  was  well  for  his 
argument  that  he  did,  for,  directly  after  the  words  that  he  read  are  the 
following  : 

"  The  high  contracting  parties,  therefore,  join  in  reprobating  any  other  than 
an  entirely  voluntary  emigration  for  these  purposes.  They  consequently  agree 
to  pass  laws  making  it  a  penal  offence  for  a  citizen  of  the  United  States  or 
Chinese  subjects  to  take  Chinese  subjects  either  to  the  United  States  or  to  any 
other  foreign  country,  or  for  a  Chinese  subject  or  citizen  of  the  United  States 
to  take  citizens  of  the  United  States  to  China  or  to  any  other  foreign  country 
without  their  free  and  voluntary  consent  respectively." 

I  maintain  that  the  latter  clause  of  the  treaty  has  been  persistently  vio- 
lated by  China  from  the  hour  it  was  made.  In  the  sense  in  which  we  receive 
immigration  from  Europe  not  one  Chinese  immigrant  has  ever  come  to  these 
shores.  The  qualifying  words  were  understood  at  the  time  to  have  been  penned! 
by  Mr.  Seward.  They  are  worth  repeating ;  and  as  my  honorable  friend  from 
Ohio  did  not  read  them  yesterday,  I  will  read  them  again  in   his  hearing  : — 

"  The  high  contracting  parties,  therefore,  join  in  reprobating  any  other; 
than  an  entirely  voluntary  emigration  for  these  purposes." 

The  words    are  worth    emphasizing;    not    merely  "voluntary,"    it    must    bei 
"entirely  voluntary,"  and  then  each  nation  is  to  make  laws  to  secure  this  end. 
I  am  informed  by  those  who  are  more  familiar  with  this  subject  than  I  am,  that  no 
notice  has  been  received  at  the  State  Department  showing  that  China  has  ever! 
complied  with  that  provision  of  the  treaty  requiring  her  to  make  laws  regulatingj 
emigration.      Still    less    has    she    attempted    to    enforce    a    law   on    the    subject. 
The  mere  making  of  a  law  and  not  enforcing    it    would  be  no  compliance  with 
the  treaty.     The  Chinese    agree,  in   other    words,  to  enforce  the  provision    that! 
there    should     be     nothing    else    than     "  voluntary "    emigration,    an     "  entirely 


voluntary "  emigration.  They  have  never  done  as  the}-  agreed,  they  have 
been  absolutely  faithless  on  that  point. 

The  treaty  stands  as  broken  and  defied  by  China  from  the  hour  it  was 
made  to  this  time.  Its  terms  have  never  been  complied  with.  We  have  been 
compelled  to  legislate  against  it.  We  legislated  against  it  in  the  coolie  law. 
The  Chinese  were  so  flagrantly  violating  it  that  statutes  of  the  United  States 
were  enacted  to  contravene  the  evil  the  Chinese  were  doing.  The  evil  has  gone 
on,  probably  not  so  grossly  since  these  laws  were  passed  as  before,  but  in  effect 
the  same.  The  point  which  the  Senator  makes  in  regard  to  our  Punic  faith  in 
attempting  to  break  this  treaty,  is  therefore  answered  by  the  fact  that  the 
treaty  has  been  broken  continuously  by  the  other  Power. 

The  Senator  from  Ohio  asked  what  we  should  do  in  a  similar  case  if  the 
other  contracting  party  were  Great  Britain,  or  Germany,  or  France,  or  any  power 
that  was  able  to  make  war.  I  ask  the  honorable  Senator  what  he  would  advise  us 
to  do  if  Great  Britain,  or  France,  or  Germany,  should  locate  six  commercial  com- 
panies in  New  York,  whose  business  it  should  be  to  bring  to  this  country  the 
worst  class  and  the  lowest  class  of  the  population  of  these  three  kingdoms  ? 
What  would  the  honorable  Senator  from  Ohio  say  to  that  ?  or  does  he  hesitate 
to  declare  what  we  should  say  to  it  ? 

Mr.  Matthews. — Does  the  Senator  desire  an  answer? 

Mr.  Blaine. — Yes,  if  the  Senator  pleases. 

Mr.  Matthews. — Then,  Mr.  President,  I  would  say  this,  that  instead  of 
inaugurating  an  arbitrary  and  ex  parte  act  of  legislation  on  our  own  part, 
giving  our  own  construction  to  the  treat}-  and  the  conduct  of  the  other  party 
under  it,  I  would,  through  the  usual  diplomatic  representative  of  this  country, 
make  representations  to  that  Government  making  complaints  of  the  alleged  breach 
of  the  treaty,  and  ask  what  answer  could  be  made  to  that ;  and  only  in  the  event, 
as  a  last  resort,  of  a  contumacious  refusal  to  obey  the  plain  requisitions  of  the 
treaty  obligation,  would  I  resort  to  a  repudiation  of  our  own  obligations  under  it. 

Mr.  Blaine. — Ah  !  I  asked  him  what  he  would  do  in  case  the  contracting 
parties  had  themselves  broken  the  treatv  and  we  were  the  victims  of  the  breach. 
He  answers  me  that  he  would  take  hat  in  hand  and  bow  politely  before  them, 
and  ask  them  if  they  would  not  behave  better !  What  are  we  to  do  as  a 
measure  of  self-defence  when  they  have  broken  it,  and  taken  the  initiative  ?  I 
say  that  this  country  and  this  Senate  would  not  hesitate  to  call  an}-  European 
power  to  account.  The  argument  the  Senator  meant  to  employ  was  that  we 
were  doing  towards  a  helpless  Power,  not  able  to  make  war  against  us,  that 
which  we  would  not  do  if  a  cannon  were  pointed  towards  us  by  a  strong  power. 
Does  the  Senator  doubt  that  if  any  one  of  these  countries  should  locate  six  com- 
!  mercial  companies  here  to  import  the  worst  portion  of  their  population  and  put 
it  upon  our  shores  (and  you  cannot  find  so  bad  a  population  in  all  Europe  as 
!  that  of  which  I  am  speaking),  that  we  would  hesitate  in  our  course  towards  the 
offendinof  Power? 

294  LIFE   AND   WORK   OF  JAMES   G.    BLAINE. 

In  regard  to  this  treaty,  the  Senator  says  we  should  give  notice.  It  has 
been  stated  many  times  in  the  hearing  of  the  Senate  that  nearly  one  year  ago 
we  called  the  attention  of  the  Executive  to  this  matter.  Certainly  it  must  be 
the  presumption  of  Congress  that  the  President  did  his  duty  in  the  premises. 
It  is  not  for  any  Senator  here  to  speak  of  what  he  has  done  or  what  he  has  not 
done.  The  presumption  is  that  all  departments  have  done  their  duty ;  and  the 
plain  duty  of  the  Executive  was  to  bring  this  resolution  by  way  of  notice  to 
the  attention  of  the  Chinese  Government.  There  is  another  feature  to  which  I 
beg  the  honorable  Senator  from  Ohio  to  direct  his  attention.  I  hold  in  my  hand 
a  book  which  contains  all  the  treaties  which  have  been  made  by  the  United 
States  with  foreign  Powers  from  the  organization  of  the  Government  to  the  year 
1873.  The  treaties  are  about  two  hundred  and  thirty  in  number,  I  think; 
about  one-half  of  them  with  European  Powers,  the  remainder  with  South  Ameri- 
can, Central  American,  Mexican,  Asiatic  and  African  countries.  I  believe  I 
could  say,  although  I  am  a  little  modest  about  universal  affirmations,  I  believe 
it  is  almost  true  as  a  universal  affirmation,  that  you  cannot  find,  with  the 
exception  of  the  Burlingame  Treat}-,  any  one  in  that  whole  list  relating  to  a 
commercial  connection,  which  does  not  either  terminate  itself  by  a  certain  date 
or  provide  the  mode  of  its  termination.  Almost  all  of  them  have  a  given  date 
upon  which  they  expire.  Some  of  them  have  a  time  within  which  either  party 
may  give  notice,  but  there  is  a  clause  in  almost  every  one  of  them  providing 
that  by  a  certain  process  either  country  may  free  itself  from  the  obligations 
that  it  assumed.  The  Burlingame  Treaty  is  peculiar ;  it  relates  to  a  commercial 
and  personal  connection  of  trade  and  of  emigration,  but  it  does  not  say  that  it 
shall  last  ten  years  or  twenty  years,  or  any  other  period ;  it  is  interminable  in 
its  provisions ;  it  does  not  provide  that  we  shall  give  notice  in  a  certain  way, 
or  that  China  shall  give  notice  in  a  certain  way.  There  is  no  provision  in  the 
world  by  which  it  can  be  terminated  unless  one  of  the  parties  shall  take  the 
initiative,  as  is  now  proposed. 

It  is,  "  I  repeat,"  evident  that  one  party  or  the  other  must  take  the  initia- 
tive. The  Senator  from  Ohio  says  he  would  go  to  the  Emperor  and  make 
certain  representations.  Then  I  ask  the  honorable  Senator — Suppose  the  Emperor 
should  refuse,  what  would  he  do  ?  Suppose  the  Emperor  should  say,  "  You 
have  entered  into  a  treat)'  with  my  Government  for  all  time ;  its  very  terms 
show  that  there  was  to  be  no  limit  to  it."  I  ask  the  honorable  Senator  froi: 
Ohio  what  he  would  then  do  ?  Suppose  we  are  unanimously  of  opinion  her 
that  the  treaty  ought  not  to  continue,  what  would  the  honorable  Senator  do 
in  case  the  Emperor  should  say,   "  I  desire  to  stand  by  that  treaty  ?  "    What  then  ? 

Mr.  Matthews. — Does  the  Senator  wish  an  answer? 

Mr.  Blaine. — Yes ;  if  it  be  agreeable  to    the  honorable  Senator  from  Ohio. 

Mr.  Matthews. — I  should  take  it  into  consideration.      (Laughter.) 

Mr.  Blaine. — That  is  a  very  exact  and  executive  way  of  doing  things. 
The  honorable  Senator  would  consider.     That  is  just  about  as  definite    a    point 


LIFE   AND   WORK   OF  JAMES   G.    BLAINE.  295 

as  I  supposed  the  Senator  would  come  to.  If  the  Senate  unanimously  determine 
that  this  treaty  ought  to  be  ended  and  we  send  an  embassy,  as  he  suggests,  to 
the  Emperor,  and  the  Emperor  says,  "No;  I  think  it  ought  not  to  be  ended," 
the  Senator  says  he  would  come  back  and  sit  down  and  take  it  into  serious 

The  learned  Senator  from  Ohio,  eminent  in  the  law  as  he  is  known  to  be, 
read  lis  a  lesson  upon  the  great  obligations  that  rest  upon  us  as  a  nation  of 
honorable  people,  as  if,  indeed,  we  were  about  to  do  something  in  the  way  of 
terminating  a  treaty  that  would  give  us  a  bad  name  and  fame  among  the  nations 
of  the  earth. 

In  answer  to  the  honorable  Senator,  without  attempting  to  defend  all  that 
has  been  done  by  various  nations  in  regard  to  the  termination  of  treaties,  let 
me  say  that  it  has  been  the  usual  habit,  and  is  laid  down  in  the  very  principia 
of  the  law  of  nations  (which  I  need  not  quote),  that  when  a  people  find  a  treat}7 
"  pernicious  to  the  nation  " — the  very  words  of  Vattel — they  may  terminate  it. 
We  took  advantage  of  this  French  authority  on  a  very  memorable  occasion.  The 
treat)'  which  we  made  with  France  in  1778,  a  treat}'  that  was  considered  to  be 
the  origin  of  our  strength  in  the  Revolutionary  war,  contained  this  article : — 

"  Neither  of  the  two  parties  shall  conclude  either  truce  or  peace  with  Great 
Britain  without  the